a little something about my mom

I never realized what a good mom I had until I became a mom myself. This is always the way, isn’t it? A really great mom makes mothering look so effortless that her kids don’t even realize how hard she’s trying.
My mother gave me a priceless gift by nurturing my gifts. At the age of three, I was already dictating stories. According to my mother, I’d tell her, "Now, write this down…" and would proceed to relate a rambling tale, which she transcribed faithfully, word for word, and saved for some unknown someday, never dreaming it was the start of a lifelong career. In this way, I learned the power of the written word. Thanks to my mom, I can pinpoint the first time I took pen in hand–January 14, 1962. I was three years old, and she’d probably given me a church collection envelope to keep me quiet during Mass:

I soon progressed to illustrated stories with a paranormal bent. My mother shared her observations with her own mom, who lived in another state:

Sometimes my mom would fill in the story, labeling the hieroglyphics:


By the age of eight, I was into self-publishing. My mentor was Mrs. Green at School Eleven. And again, it was my mom who kept this early effort. She seemed to know I was passionate about storytelling:

And that’s the simplicity and the genius of mothering–to recognize your child’s gifts and passions, and to nurture them without judgment. My mom made it look easy, and I know now it couldn’t have been.
My own daughter, Elizabeth, had gifts and passions of her own, and I hope I sent her out into the world filled with confidence and excitement. The three of us–my mom, my daughter, myself–are still incredibly close, and there is a sense of history circling through the generations.



The Goodbye Quilt is my tribute to any parent who has ever struggled with letting go of a beloved child. As Linda, the book’s narrator, points out, it’s not a transition we mark with a celebration of any kind. No one brings you a tuna casserole or sends you a card of commiseration. Greeting car companies never created a "Have a Happy Post-Motherhood" card. It’s a silent passage, the exodus of the offspring from the nest, and that never seemed right to me. It’s a huge change for the entire family, and as such, deserves to be marked in some way. In the book, Linda has the idea of creating a memory quilt made up of bits and pieces of Molly’s childhood–a piece from a favorite dress, an award ribbon, a bit of a costume. What she discovers in the course of creating this piece is something all mothers learn–that her work is never really finished.
Visit me on the web [youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=-iFrBbydBAo].

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  1. Susan, I loved the article about your Mom. I could certainly relate to every thing you said about her. My Mom died eight years ago but not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. She had eight children, some of them born during the depression and she did with out things herself. I have so many good memories of her that are comforting to me. I love your books.

  2. Susan, I loved the article about your Mom. I could certainly relate to every thing you said about her. My Mom died eight years ago but not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. She had eight children, some of them born during the depression and she did with out things herself. I have so many good memories of her that are comforting to me. I love your books.

  3. Hi Susan and Helen,

    I loved reading this post. Your comment was very touching too Helen.

    I also miss my mom (her name was Helen too) every single day, she passed on 4 years ago. How lucky we are to have had moms who encouraged and nurtured us to “go for it”. When I look back on how hard her life was in so many ways, I don’t know how she did it all. Nice to have these good memories brought to mind and thanks for sharing your inspiring story Susan, lovely!

  4. Hi Susan and Helen,
    I loved reading this post. Your comment was very touching too Helen.
    I also miss my mom (her name was Helen too) every single day, she passed on 4 years ago. How lucky we are to have had moms who encouraged and nurtured us to “go for it”. When I look back on how hard her life was in so many ways, I don’t know how she did it all. Nice to have these good memories brought to mind and thanks for sharing your inspiring story Susan, lovely!

  5. Susan, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the comments about moms & the pictures. The book was amazing. As an emptynest mom of 3 boys & a quilter/seamstress (clue to who I am) the book hit a soft spot in my heart. Looking forward to meeting you if you ever need some sewing done or work on the hot tub. Thanks for the books.
    Kathi

  6. Susan, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the comments about moms & the pictures. The book was amazing. As an emptynest mom of 3 boys & a quilter/seamstress (clue to who I am) the book hit a soft spot in my heart. Looking forward to meeting you if you ever need some sewing done or work on the hot tub. Thanks for the books.
    Kathi

  7. Susan, you are so very blessed to have a mother that nutured your talent. My mother did the opposite and always made fun of my imagination, belittled my stories, and later …read my diary to my Italian family, because I had a first boyfriend. That act has stifled my writing, and now, at 47 I am just getting over the blocks that have been put there over the years.
    Please give your mom the biggest hug you have in you-from me!

  8. Susan, you are so very blessed to have a mother that nutured your talent. My mother did the opposite and always made fun of my imagination, belittled my stories, and later …read my diary to my Italian family, because I had a first boyfriend. That act has stifled my writing, and now, at 47 I am just getting over the blocks that have been put there over the years.
    Please give your mom the biggest hug you have in you-from me!

  9. Susan, the Goodbye Quilt was the first book of yours that I read.. I have read almost everyone since…I was surprised at the ending though…it was a very good book…loved that your mom so belived in your talent….thank you for many hours of happy reading…

  10. Susan, the Goodbye Quilt was the first book of yours that I read.. I have read almost everyone since…I was surprised at the ending though…it was a very good book…loved that your mom so belived in your talent….thank you for many hours of happy reading…

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