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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Forgotten Lunch
By Sheri Gordon


“Hi Mom, what’s up?” My tone was regrettably more clipped than it should have been. Though I enjoyed talking to my mom, I couldn’t afford the interruption at work. Sometimes Mom liked to prattle on about the latest activities at her church, and I really hoped this wasn’t one of those times.

“Shane called me from school. He said he forgot his lunch.”

“Why’d he call you? Why didn’t he call home?” Shane is our oldest son and was in the fifth grade. I was perplexed as to why he would phone his grandparents about his forgotten lunch, when they lived almost an hour away. Our house, where my husband has his office, is less than a mile from our son’s school.

“He said he tried calling home, but his dad didn’t answer.” That’s right. He’s at a client appointment.

“So why didn’t he call me?” Though in the next town, my office was about a ten minute drive from Valley Elementary.

Mom hesitated briefly before answering. “I asked him the same thing. He said you’re very busy on a really important project, and he’s not supposed to bother you.”


I don’t remember the rest of the conversation with Mom. Something about I’d take care of it, thanks for calling, bye.

As I flipped open the rolodex in search of the school’s phone number, my husband called to say he was home, heard Shane’s message, and would deliver the forgotten lunch.

I methodically replaced the receiver on the cradle, turned away from the transparent office door, and let the warm tears flow unabatedly.

Why hadn’t Shane phoned me? Where did he ever get the idea that…?

I know we never told our ten-year-old son that he couldn’t call me. Or had we? Did he want to call when he got home from school, but my husband would tell him not to bother me? Had he tried calling sometime, only to be told by the secretary that I was in a meeting and couldn’t be disturbed?

And I know we never told him I was working on a really important project. Except…I was away 50-60 hours a week… I worked weekends and into the nights…I was not at home when my boys woke up in the mornings. And just months earlier, I had escorted our youngest son to his first day of kindergarten, kissed him good-bye, and headed straight to the airport to board a plane and be gone for an entire week.

So maybe we never said, “Mommy is very busy on a really important project and you can’t bother her,” but we sure were living it.

Thus began an intense, gut-wrenching assessment of my priorities. How had it come to this? Why did I thrive on the accolades I received from successful board presentations, speaking at conferences, analyzing computer reports? Why did I sprint from a stress-filled day at work to volunteer at school activities, charity organizations, church committees, and youth sports programs?

Why did I crave the titles of Assistant Vice President, Product Manager, Treasurer, Prayer Chain Coordinator, or board member? Why must I display my degree and my titles and my awards for all to see?

What’s wrong with being “Mommy,” and only Mommy?

That morning, my son’s call pierced my heart. That night, my husband and I hit our knees. And in that moment, God transformed our lives.

Could I really take a break from my worldy self- importance? Could we survive without my salary—which accounted for more than half of our household income?

And what about my college education? Wouldn’t it be wasted if I were home? What would I say when people asked me what I did for a living? Well, I used to have a really important position at a bank, but now I’m just a stay-at-home Mom.

After passionate prayer time, and overwhelming affirmation from God, my husband and I knew without a doubt that I had to come home—full time.

So, on my oldest son’s eleventh birthday, I handed my letter of resignation to my boss. And one month later, I walked out of my picture window office with the oak desk and plush executive chair, for the very last time.

And two days later, for the very first time, I truly appreciated and celebrated Mother’s Day.

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This article has been read 959 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/01/08
Beautiful job on your MCs internal monologue and her wrenching decision-making process. I also really like the understated character of the grandmother, with her hesitation that spoke volumes. And a great title, too!
Sara Harricharan 05/02/08
What a realization! To finally see and with her husband in prayer come to a decision, I felt as if I were watching this whole piece play out like a clip in a movie! Very vivid descriptions, etc and especially with the forgotten lunch. I liked the last line best though. Great job! ^_^
Betty Castleberry05/02/08
Thank you for this. Sincerely. I think if more women had this attitude, our families would not be in such messes. This is well written. Thumbs up.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/04/08
You did a great job of showing how one forgotten lunch awakened a mother's heart and changed her priorities. The process of change was presented excellently.
Joy Faire Stewart05/05/08
I enjoy the way you draw your reader into the story and excellent lesson too.
LauraLee Shaw05/05/08
What an impacting way to approach the topic. You shared this person's story without preaching to others. And it packed alotta punch. I liked the way it didn't just encompass the working mom, but also the overcommitted mom. Well done.
Chely Roach05/05/08
Bittersweet and convicting. Well done.
Willena Flewelling 05/06/08
Your MC's struggle is well developed and expressed. I'm so glad she made the decision to stay home.
Joanne Sher 05/06/08
Wonderfully done - great job with the interior monologue and descriptions. An amazing revelation, described vividly.
Joshua Janoski05/06/08
I like the lesson being taught in this story. We all need to take the time to examine our lives and make sure that our priorities are what they should be. We tend to get caught up with money, jobs, success, and a million other things, and meanwhile, the people and things that matter most get neglected.

You did a wonderful job with this. I enjoyed the dialogue and the decision of the woman. Thank you for sharing. :)
Yvonne Blake 05/06/08
"CLAP,CLAP,CLAP" This a standing ovation for having your mother do the right thing, not just being sorry.
Too many kids are 'raising' themselves. They don't think they have anyone to turn to. What a wise grandmother to show them the way.
Debbie Wistrom05/06/08
Yea! Well done-loved how the couple hit their knees together on such an important decision.
Lenda Blackmon05/07/08
Good job. This is a mom that truly loves her children and will make sacrifices for them. I too would like to see more moms make this decision.
Loren T. Lowery05/07/08
I'm smiling after reading this one. Talk about a devine wake-up call to get our priorites right. Sadly the truth of what this mother is/was going through is more real than can be imagnined.
Janice Cartwright05/07/08
Wow. This really touched me. And to think its an excerpt from your life. How well I could identify with that need to feel... that we are doing something more worthy (not) than just being a homemaker and a mom. Just one more reminder of this upside down culture we live in. But oh how good it feels when we succeed in walking in the Father's will. There is no greater place to be.