Just like my mom I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more amazing my mother gets. For a few years, my mother raised me as a single mom. I was too young to remember that time, and she never talked about it much. Whenever I would ask her questions about those years, she would just shrug her shoulders. In her mind, she just did what she had to do. Eventually we moved in with my aunt, and later my mom remarried.

A few months ago, I was visiting with my aunt. We were reminiscing about my childhood when my aunt suddenly became very quiet. She turned to me, her eyes brimming with tears, and took my hands in hers.

“Your mother made so many sacrifices for you,” she said quietly. I nodded, but said nothing. I knew she wasn’t finished. “We knew things were hard for her, but we didn’t know how hard. Brandy — she would not eat so she could buy you food. She would do anything for you.”

I sat on my aunt’s porch, unable to speak. So many of my childhood memories involve food. Of my mother tearing up pieces of chicken on a bright pink plastic plate. Blowing on a bowl of steaming potatoes dotted with butter and pepper. Stirring a bubbling pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove.

I was too young to notice that sometimes her own plate was empty.

I know that my mother’s story is not an isolated experience. I know that too well. I’ve read dozens of stories and reports about families literally starving to death. Of mothers sacrificing for their children day after day. To the point of death.

I’m not a mother yet. I don’t know what it’s like to love a child that completely — that sacrificially. But I do know that my mother had family who stepped in when things were bad. Sadly, mothers in poverty-stricken communities often don’t have that same kind of support.

I will never be able to repay my mother for the sacrifices she made for me. But I can learn from her sacrifice. I can skip eating out and donate to a local food pantry. I can forgo my coffee shop visits and give to mothers desperate to feed their children.

I can give food to those who are hungry. Just like my mother did.

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  1. Marlo
    Jul 8, 2008
    at 11:49 am

    This is inspiring. What a beautiful example you’ve had in your own life to draw from.

  2. Jul 8, 2008
    at 12:27 pm

    The disparity of this problem across the globe just boggles my mind. The Mauritania video (I think) has really challenged me. In it, a dollar a day was the wages earned, and would feed the family in it once a day Now every time I spend money I think, “That would have fed that family for X days.”

  3. Jul 8, 2008
    at 1:02 pm

    Thank you Brandy

  4. Kari
    Jul 8, 2008
    at 2:39 pm

    Great post, Brandy.

  5. Jul 8, 2008
    at 7:22 pm

    I honestly don’t know if my mom ever went without food so that my sister and I could eat; I know she sacrificed in many ways, and I would not be surprised to learn that she had, indeed, gone without in order to feed us.

    I think there’s nothing like either living with poverty, or seeing it up close and personal, on its own turf, to give us a sense–even a little hint–of what our sponsored children live with.

  6. Jul 9, 2008
    at 12:30 am

    Thanks for sharing Brandy – I’m so happy I found this website! Good encouraging and touching stories, almost every day!

  7. Denise
    Jul 9, 2008
    at 7:07 am

    Wow Brandy, thanks for that. Our childhoods and mothers sound strikingly similar. God bless you for taking what you know to point us up beyond ourselves toward doing something for others. You’re awesome!

  8. Greta Lynn Hernandez
    Jul 9, 2008
    at 1:27 pm

    Lovely. I’m going to send this to others, too!

  9. Jul 10, 2008
    at 8:19 am

    I loved this, Brandy. Agape love always “pays it forward,” doesn’t it?

  10. Kim
    Jul 10, 2008
    at 10:42 am

    What a wonderful post Brandy.

    Thank you and God Bless!

  11. Becca
    Jul 14, 2008
    at 10:58 am

    Love this. Thanks for your vulnerability and the reminder to sacrifice often because we have the means to do so!

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