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

TITLE: Outside The Rose-Colored Mom BOX
By LauraLee Shaw


Dear Greeting Card Editor,

I can’t seem to find a single Mother’s Day card for my mom.

What kind of card do you pick for a mom who can’t stand long enough to cook—for one who’s in chronic pain every single day?

What verse is there for a mom who looks to her teenager for comfort instead of the reverse?

Do you have just a little something that says, “I love you, Mom” which doesn’t define the word ‘love’ as bear hugs and butterly kisses?

Because…I’m thinking if you need a little help writing your cards—well—maybe I could be the one. Sure, there’s always the good old blank card, but even a mom with special needs like mine needs to know that there’s a card out there written just for her. Even she wants to feel treasured on Mother’s Day.

You see, written on the insecurities of her heart is the feeling that she doesn’t stack up as a Mom. She looks at others and asks herself, Why can’t I drive the cheerleading team to the competition? Why can’t I be the chaperone for the Prom? Why can’t I be the neighborhood Mom that everyone comes to for advice with their struggles?

You could really make some money, you know, if you would just see that not every mom fits inside the ‘warm and fuzzy’ box you’ve so beautifully bordered with tulips and pansies.

Not every mom has a husband who adores her. Mine had a husband who beat her instead. Not every mom is her child’s taxi driver. My mom can barely drive without getting into an accident (she shouldn’t even have a license, for goodness’ sake). Not every mom can comfort her hormonal, emotional daughter. Mine might just end up in the psychiatric ward if I fall apart.

Please know that I’m not complaining—I’ve learned not to complain. It doesn’t make the problems go away. It makes them bigger actually.


Here’s my qualifications if you need a teenager who can help you write outside the rose-colored Mom box:

* I’ve been the Editor of my high school newspaper for two years.
* I’ve been writing poems as long as I can remember.
* There isn’t a whole lot of anything I haven’t seen or experienced outside the realms of a normal childhood (whatever that is).
* I write about my mom’s experiences as an accident and abuse victim on a regular basis, recording her behaviors and emotions.
* I also spend a whole lot of time noticing that not every mother who appears to be “normal” is what she seems. I can kind of see people that way.

I don’t know. I guess if I were to write a greeting card especially for my mother, I could do a better job than anybody. Maybe I should just do that. Because I know you get a lot of letters. This will probably just end up on the bottom of the pile if it doesn’t get chunked the minute you read the first line.

So Greeting Card Editor, though you may or may not be listening, here’s a card suggestion for a mother like mine:

On the front it would have no borders. Simply a splattering of heart shapes sprinkled randomly around the outside of a basic black box on the bottom right-hand corner of the page. On the top left, flowing down diagonally, it would read, “Happy Mother’s Day to a Mom Outside the Box…”

In large, bold font inside the card would read the verse that would hopefully take away her pain and sorrows even if just for a moment, and perhaps even cause her frowning lips to smile for a change.

“You, Mom, are a Mother like no other.

While others are busy trying to be strong,
You’re on your knees where you belong.

When many are too busy bustling to notice a stranger,
Not you
You stop and share the One born in a manger.

God knew when He made you,
That you would make a difference that no other mom could make.
How? By making you MY mom.
And I would never trade you for another,
for you’re the perfect mom for me.”


My only regret, Greeting Card Editor, is that I waited to send this letter until I was a grown woman with three children of my own. I pray it will make a difference in some teenager’s life—someone with a “special” Mama like mine.


Krista L. Roberts

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This article has been read 971 times
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Sara Harricharan 05/02/08
WOW! I am simply surprised at this one. So creative-of course, but so heartfelt at the same time. I feel an ache for all the mothers out there who don't fit inside that standardized rose-colored Mom Box. This is what they need. I love this, a favorite of mine for this week!-it's a great story and especially for Mother's day. Nice job! ^_^
Debbie Wistrom05/02/08
So creative for the topic and so telling. This entry shows why it is in Masters.
Joy Faire Stewart05/04/08
This touched my heart. Excellent writing from the POV of the teen and the poem is perfect. Plus, much to think about.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/04/08
This is a very creative entry. I liked the idea of a card for a "different," yet very good, mother, doing the best she could. Your writing made the mother's love for her child and for the Lord come through clearly.
Chely Roach05/05/08
How creative and clever! Such a message of truth...not everyone's mom is standard greeting card material, but that doesn't make them less loved...just harder to shop for!
Loved this!
Kristen Hester05/05/08
This entry really stands out as unique and creative. I love the MC's teen voice. I can totally visualize the card...it would be a great one. The poem is touching. The ending gave a great prespective. This is really tneder and touching and wonderful and more. Bravo!
Betty Castleberry05/05/08
Very unique. The message is clear, although it made me think. This was a good read.
Sheri Gordon05/06/08
This is really, really good, Laura. Very creative entry, with the perfect POV. Love the card at the end. Excellent job with the topic.
Mariane Holbrook 05/06/08
This made me cry. I'm a mom and a grandma, too, and too often we write about and celebrate the ideal mom, the "Harriet" of the old "Ozzie and Harriet" tv show. But moms are not perfect and they spend time wishing they had done things differently. Your entry is so special, so poignant, so much "between the lines" that I read it twice to make sure I got every precious morsel.
Thank you, Dearheart.
Peter Stone05/06/08
What a beautiful tribute to a truly amazing mother. We can see the difficulties you went through as a teenager, and also see how you came to respect your mother more and more as you matured in your walk with the Lord. The poem was a beautiful touch.
Beth LaBuff 05/06/08
Wow! Incredibly creative. I love what you did with this. I would hire you for the job. :) Your ending was a nice twist "waited to send this letter."
Joshua Janoski05/06/08
Not only is this entry so very creative and also "outside of the box", it also probably describes a whole lot more moms than those standard greeting cards in the store do.

You somehow always manage to surprise me with your creative takes on each week's topic. Thank you for sharing this delightful entry. :)
Jan Ackerson 05/06/08
I love the voice of this--it's got a bit of an edge to it, but the tenderness for the mother is unmistakable.
Lynda Schultz 05/06/08
My mother was not your "normal" mom either—the cards never fit. My words and actions had to make up for what others couldn't possibly say. You make a good point and have done it very well.
Joanne Sher 05/07/08
Very creative, and wonderful job with the voice and characterizations. A wonderful message so many of us need - more than likely would be willing to admit it. Excellent, girlie!
Jeffrey Snell05/07/08
What struck me is the exceptional creativity and directness in your writing. You make a compelling point about those "atypical" moms out there--more common than social niceties would have us believe. A novel approach, realistic and touching. And not a bad idea for a greeting card, either! Great job!
Dee Yoder 05/08/08
As someone who knows the pain of having a mom who is unpredictable, I felt for this MC and her pain. Very tenderly written in detail and topic.
Laury Hubrich 05/08/08
This was so painful to read. Awesome work, so very creative but it made me think what kind of greeting card my kids would give to me if they would take the time to write their own. Living in chronic pain is so hard and unfortunately, our kids live with it right along with us. Thanks for writing this, Laura. I know it was difficult.
Loren T. Lowery05/08/08
Okay, you're hired. : ) Show up Monday 8 am. There are a lot of moms and their children we've kept waiting too long to "hear" your words!
BTW, the phrase that probably touched me most deeply was this: "How? By making you MY mom.
And I would never trade you for another,
for you’re the perfect mom for me."

It speaks more words than a heart could possibly hold, Laura.

Take care and God bless, Loren
Helen Dowd05/11/08
PERFECT! Absolutely PERFECT! What a unique way to write this challenge. No wonder you are in the Master's category....I loved this. I am sorry, though that you (or the fictional person you wrote for) had such a sad childhood.... How grateful I am for my mother. I couldn't write a short article about her, however, even though I wrote a whole published book about her...I just couldn't!...Helen (Thanks for your comment on my siblings article...)
Tim Pickl07/26/08
Dear Krista,

God has used your letter to humble me and my staff. After a three hour prayer meeting (which was supposed to be a boring one hour Staff Meeting, complete with the 'same old' weekly PowerPoint presentations) we have decided to form a new line of greeting cards. Please contact as AS SOON AS POSSIBLE regarding an employment opportunity in our company.

God bless you--and keep writing!