02 1 / 2013

I swear I will never again forget to get my flu shot.  I spent the holiday quarantined in my bedroom.  I missed out on all the food, fun and fellowship with my family who had driven 400 miles to celebrate.image

Submitted by Judy.

13 12 / 2012

In my teens, a girlfriend and I decided to dye our hair green for St. Patrick’s Day. No regular hair dye came in green, so we used Rit Dye. It was months before we were back to normal.

Submitted by Lucinda D.

10 12 / 2012

We loved your submissions to our previous prompt, “My Most Unforgettable Moment of 2012,” but now it’s time for something new.

Tell us about the one thing you’ll never do again—we’ll publish the best stories on RD StoryBox.

10 12 / 2012

Tom and I spent a week’s vacation in Michigan in September.  We started off with a two nights stay on Mackinac Island at the Murray Hotel.  That first day, we walked to the Grand Hotel, ate at a wonderful buffet for lunch and toured the grounds. 

Later that night, we returned to our quaint Victorian room which faced Main Street.  On the TV was the last few minutes of “Somewhere in Time.” a beautiful and romantic movie filmed at the Grand Hotel starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.  We were delighted to find out we really hadn’t missed the movie, since there was a continuous showing at our Hotel.

We hurried into our pajamas, got into bed, and munched on delicious, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies left at our nightstand.  The moment came when Tom commented that we could actually hear the horses clip-clopping outside our window and then see them often in the movie.  It was a perfect evening, “Somewhere in Time.”

Submitted by Tom and Bonnie N.

03 12 / 2012

Three people and five softly spoken words voiced in the solitude of a quiet living room shape my most unforgettable moment of 2012.  The people: my Dad, the local parish priest, and me.  It was early afternoon on Tuesday, May 22, and my Dad was nearing the end of his year-long battle with lung cancer.  His parish priest had visited to administer the last rites and offer some prayers.  My Dad was surprisingly lucid and willing to chat amicably with his visitor.  It was as though he was merely a little under the weather.  But his frail body revealed a different story of a man who couldn’t eat or drink anything other than a few ice chips and an occasional sip of water or thickened juice.  Simply put my Dad was dying and soon he would be unable to talk at all.  But for a few shining moments that afternoon he reminisced with his priest about mutual acquaintances and events that had taken place in my father’s parish during his 87 years as a parishioner.  I sat silently listening to the conversation, feeling privileged to share in these memories.  After the priest bestowed a final blessing on my Dad he quietly asked him if he had anything else on mind that he’d like to share.  My Dad’s simple yet uncharacteristic reply was: “I’ve had a successful life.”  Those five words both surprised and pleased me.  You see, my father was not a boastful man.  In fact, he was humble to a fault and never bragged about any of his accomplishments.  Even though he proudly served his country during World War II, was a highly respected businessman in his community, and, with my mother, raised a family of five loving. caring children, he never tooted his own horn.  So to hear him finally admit that he’d had a successful life baffled me somewhat.  I was incredibly happy that he felt at peach with his life but his words left me wondering what, in his eyes, he considered success to be. 

Three days later when he died it finally dawned on me what success meant to my Dad.  To witness his final moments the house was full with 21 family members, and three more on their way from abroad who arrived a short time after his death.  Of course we were all there because we loved him unconditionally.  He touched each of our lives in different yet precious ways  but that alone is not what my Dad would have considered “success.”  What made him feel so proud and fulfilled as a man was the fact that his family, “all the loves of his life”, as he referred to us, adored not just him, but love and respect each other.  We all enjoy each others’ company, feel responsible for each others’ happiness and security, and are genuinely grateful for each others’ existence.  In today’s world of fractured families that is a rarity.  My dad knew that and so he deeply treasured our close family ties.  His words have helped me to deal with his loss. I will never forget the peaceful look on his face and the slight smile he offered when he said, “I’ve had a successful life.”  I know that precious moment will remain in my heart long past the year 2012.

Submitted by Kathy H.

30 11 / 2012

It couldn’t be.  A little pink plus sign looking back into my eyes.  My palms were sweating, and my heart was racing.  I could hear my husband in the next room speaking on the telephone to a friend.  “I’m pregnant,” I whispered to myself.  I managed to look into the mirror.  “I’m pregnant,” I repeated again to myself.  It was like I was practicing telling him.  I wasn’t sure what he would do or say.

Leaning closer to the mirror, I looked deep into my eyes, trying to find the Mother that I would soon be.  The conversation in the next room wasn’t ending, and I couldn’t bear another moment waiting to share the news.

Holding the test tightly, I left the restroom, and reached for the door knob to where the love of my life had about ten seconds left of his life, before it all changed forever.

Fear is something so powerful, and it can destroy you in a moment.  I was always told not to fear, but why was I now? 

Entering the room, he flashed a smile at me.  My heart skipped a beat.

"I’m pregnant."

There.  I said it, loud and clear.  He dropped the cellphone, and I soon found myself in his arms.  The expression he had upon his face was a expression I have seen everyday since that unforgettable moment.

A new life we had created together.  So when I thought his life would change, that was true, yes, but it was for the better.

The fear I have now is a new kind of fear.  A fear I believe every new Mother struggles with.  The solution to avoiding it for me is, to just remind myself of the moment I found the new heartbeat inside me.

Submitted by Justine P.

29 11 / 2012

I was adopted when I was three years old through the Children’s Home Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It was a good family, but I always wondered about my birth family.  Who were they? Did I have siblings? Where are they now?
When I came back from my first year at college, I was pregnant.  At that time, it was a very bad thing.  I gave up my son through the same Home Society.  I have thought about him frequently, wondering where he is and how he is doing.
About three months later, my Mom and Dad took me for a drive up to Two Harbors, north of Duluth, Minnesota.  On the way, I was given a stack of letters to read.  My birth sister had been corresponding with my parents and wanted to meet me.  Well, the meeting went so very well.  She and I had the same interests and it was like we had known each other forever.  Later I was to meet the rest of my family.  I have two brothers, and seven step-siblings.  I am in contact with her frequently.
This past spring (May 1st) I was helping my daughter move. I received a phone call from a lady who would not identify herself but kept asking personal questions.  Finally, after refusing to answer the questions, she told me she was a psychologist.  When I pushed, she said she was from the Children’s Home Society.  Immediately I knew why she was calling.  My son wanted to get in tough with me! I said yes of course, and filled out all the necessary release forms and wrote a short note to my son.   
On Mother’s Day, I got a phone call from an unknown number, although it was an area code in Minnesota. It was my son, Scott!  We spoke for a long time, then the next day we met!  I brought my daughter for support and he had his wife with him.  It was so emotional. I was shaking and had trouble speaking.
Later, we were invited to his parents’ home for Memorial Day.  When his Mother and I met, we just hugged and cried. We were both so thankful, me for her giving my son a home, she for me giving him up.  Scott and I continue to meet and I am learning more about him and his family (he has three children, one married.)  We will have a Christmas celebration on the Sunday before Christmas so we will not interfere with his current family traditions.
What goes around comes around. This was by far the best Mother’s Day I have ever experienced!

Submitted by Lois G.

26 11 / 2012

It was an extremely painful day in November when I had to tell my students, grades pre-kindergarten through eight, that I was no longer going to be their principal. I went from classroom to classroom and bid my farewells. When I was done, students from the upper grades walked out of their classrooms and filled the halls. In addition to being principal, I also taught seventh grade Biology, so the news of my departure was taken even harder by my present and former science students.

I signed the usual R.M.A. in tablets and on book covers or on almost anything else that was put in front of me. There were many goodbyes coupled with hugs and tears and then many more hugs and tears. Finally, all the students returned to their classrooms, except one eighth grade boy.  He stood leaning against the wall, head down, very somber. By that time, my eyes and chest ached but not as much as my heart. So I stood next to him in the hall and said nothing. The moments passed and from time to time a tear or two continued to appear and travel down each of our faces.

Finally, he turned to me and said, “Mrs. P, will you hand me my diploma at graduation?”

After taking a deep breath and with a quivery smile, I replied, “There is nothing more that I would like to do and I will try very hard to attend your graduation ceremony. But I can’t say for sure that I will be there. I just want you to know that I am very moved by the fact that you are asking me.” After one last hug, he returned to his classroom and I stood in my own world of silence attempting to contain all the emotion that I had just encountered.  I eventually returned to my office and finished my last few hours in a school with the students I had come to love and respect.   

June came and as it happened, I was unable to be at the end of the year events. I was very distraught and saddened about my inability to be present.  A few weeks later, I attended a high school graduation party for a former student. The eighth grade boy who extended the invitation to me was there with his family and friends. When the party was over, we all walked out to our cars together. Before I reached my car, the student stopped me and said, “Wait here, Mrs. P.”

He then ran to his car and returned holding something in his hands. With his hand extended to me and holding his diploma, he asked, “Mrs. P, would you please hand this to me and make it official?”

In the parking lot while holding back tears, I opened the diploma cover and read all the official words that granted fulfillment of requirements for eighth grade graduation. I then placed the diploma in his hand while shaking the other hand and congratulating him. “It’s now official,” I said.

“It’s now official,” he replied.

It was an incredible few moments that I will never forget. It was a testimony as to how we, as teachers and principals, leave lasting imprints on the lives we strive to inspire and how our students touch our hearts in return.

Submitted by Lucille P.

26 11 / 2012

Four years ago we lost our 24 year old daughter in an auto accident.  We are now raising her daughter, our 8 year old granddaughter Lucy.  Lucy had longed for a pet of her own, so one day my husband and I took her to our local Humane Society where she fell in love the perfect kitten she named Lily.  As we were filling out the necessary paperwork for the kitten’s adoption, we were stunned to see that the kitten’s date of birth was the same date of our daughter’s death.  Coincidence or not?  Today Lily and Lucy are inseparable.  I truly feel Lily was a gift from God and from our daughter.

Submitted by Cynthia M.

13 11 / 2012

My most unforgettable moment of this year happened when I was danciing with Annie, my daughter, during the father-daughter dance at her wedding on May 4, 2012. I do not consider myself a good dancer, but I had fun improvising. At one point we acted like chickens by moving our arms up and down. My wife said that my dancing was quite impressive. I think that I did all right for someone who was 69 years old.

Submitted by Kenneth S.