Letters to a Mother share Wisdom, Understanding
So often, I find the key to lifting a mom's spirits is to share your story of motherhood - to say simply, I understand. Clearly, we don't all have the same experiences, the same trials, the same triumphs, but we have something special - an understanding of the journey.
To know the story of a mother is to comprehend a greater good.
Now imagine your husband so valued you and your role in the home - as his wife, as the mother of his children - that he decided to gather stories - letters to a mother - as a gift to you.
Meet the man who did just that and the woman who wants to share the gift.
Seth and Amber Haines are unique, yet decidedly uncomplicated. They love each other deeply, and feel compelled to help others.
This past holiday season, the couple decided they would not spend any money on Christmas presents for each other. Inspired by Seth's visit to Mozambique, Africa the previous year, they decided to donate the money they saved to a small village.
The challenge at home - to be creative, to be compassionate, to give from the heart.
Seth came up with an idea - one he says just sort of happened. "There was no grand epiphany moment, nor was there a specific moment to which I can point for the genesis of the project." Seth decided to ask Amber's friends for a generic 'letter to a mother'. He hoped to gather 30 to 40 to present to Amber on Christmas.
As letters began to trickle in, a friend suggested Seth set up a blog to take in more. New to the blog world, Seth went to some of the blogs Amber visited regularly. He reached out to a few of those bloggers as well. He immediately received some amazing responses. Not only would some of these women write a letter, but they helped to publicize the project as well.
By Christmas Day, Seth had collected around 600 letters.
Amber still has not yet finished reading all the letters. She explains, " Most every letter represents a mom's individual story, and each story needs to be heard. I love how the Mother Letters have given so many moms a voice, and I love how different all the voices are. I want to admire each voice, so it is very hard for me to plunge right into a letter after having just read another letter."
And she finds so many letters apply to her journey as a mother, "As this year rolls by and I encounter new motherly trials, I'll turn to the next letter, and behold, it encourages me right where I am." The letters are from single moms, mothers of 5, mothers who have lost a child and those who battle the day-to-day drama of raising a child.
For Seth, reading the letters has been astounding - he can now appreciate, on a completely different level - just how difficult mothering can be, "it's given me new respect and admiration for what Amber goes through on a daily basis. I think every father should read as many of these letters as they can."
For Amber, The Mother Letter Project has been an opportunity to watch her marriage grow. Not only was she astounded the moment Seth revealed her gift, but she continues to be amazed by the joy they experience together in finding something they are equally passionate about.
Once Seth and Amber were able to process the magnitude of this gift, they realized they had one regret, " that I was not able to benefit the village in Mozambique in a more tangible way: "Instead of holding on to that regret, Amber and I decided to try and make another run, raising money for people who have some of the same struggles as the villagers I visited."
While he was in Mozambique, Seth heard tragic stories of the hopelessness that grew among the people due to low wages, poor agricultural resources, and curable diseases, such as malaria. These stories prompted the couple to focus on combating malaria - a disease estimated to take the lives of 1 million children per year in Africa.
So, The Mother Letter Project moved forward with a second edition, released near Mother's Day. The money they raised benefits Compassion International's Malaria Intervention Fund.
And, they haven't stopped. Seth and Amber have a shared passion for helping others - whether it is a mom they barely know or a family battling malaria in Mozambique. I am certain we will be hearing about them again in the future.
Pictures of the Haines Family were taken by Brooke Robinson.
About the Author: Danielle Smith is a mommy to two smart and sassy small people, as well as the founder and primary author of ExtraordinaryMommy.com. You can catch her hosting a brand new live show, The Spin Cycle, on MomTV.com every Wednesday at 9pmEST. She also hosts a show on Blog Talk Radio and contributes to WhyMomsMatter. Danielle is thrilled to be contributing to MomItForward as ‘giving back’ has always been an important part of who she is and what she hopes to teach her children.