#Slice2013 - Day 7 of 2013

At the NCTE Annual Conference last year, I sat in on a sentence crafting presentation by NWP's Sherry Swain. One activity we did that morning popped into my mind as I thought about how to write my "I remember when..." post for my mom's birthday today. It makes me smile that my memories of growing up with my mom mingled with my professional development experiences. I like to think that my empathetic teaching heart comes from my mom.

In Swain's lesson, we crafted a sentence using three verb clusters and a follow up zinger-sentence. So mine for my mom would look something like this:

Today I remember my mom; sitting elbow to elbow in the library with the perfect book, belly-laughing over pumpkin pie disasters, and belting out operatic rock-and-roll sing-alongs in the car. She wasn't your ordinary mom.

All in all, not a bad sentence. And a great way to help my 4th Grade writers begin to stretch their thinking within the confines of one sentence.

But I have so much more to say about my mom. So much more to celebrate!

Learning to write cursive in the sunny window of our Florida home, my mom teaching me during the summer because I couldn't wait until school began.

Nightly Bible stories, snuggled in bed together.

Opening the door to our kitchen to find a flour-covered winter wonderland created by our giant Weimaraner. Oh, she was not a happy Mom that day.

Watching every Barbara Streisand movie ever made; laughing and crying along with her.

Struggling into tights right after school, zipping through the house in a flurry of activity before she rushed me off to ballet practice.

Hiding a pail containing a tiny nest with two tinier birds behind my back, as Mom questioned where that chirping was coming from.

Waking up to goodies waiting in the morning from The Great Pumpkin on Halloween.

Weekends trips to Las Vegas hotels just for a girl's weekend away, when Dad was out of town.

Watching her rock my firstborn son when I was just too exhausted to sit upright.

Listening to her sing lullabies to the boys when they were little.

Tater-tot casserole. Nothing else can be said about this.

Her Momisms. The way she says pot pourri and beaucoup and bless your heart.

The cards. The countless, just because, always perfect cards she sends at just the right moments.

And so much more.

I remember all of this, have forgotten too much already, and am thankful for it all.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.


  1. Kelly - as a mom, these are the moment I hope my children remember about me - what a wonderful tribute to your Mom, a true reminder that life is about the small things, the seemingly mundane parts of our day, but the ones that stick with us forever.

    Thank you for the reminder to focus on the sentences that together make up our posts - too often I think big picture (what is it that I really want to say??) with a combination of a very narrow focus (What is the most precise word I can use ?) and forget to focus on the sentences.

    Thanks for the glimpse into your memories of your Mom - Enjoy your weekend!

  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother. She sounds like a very special woman. And I love the sentence crafting idea. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love your blog! I'm so glad I found it :) I love hearing reflection of teaching practices and your reflection on sentence crafting (including modeling) is excellent! I need to find as many writing techniques to share with my students as possible.

    I loved reading about your mum - she sounds like a great mother and reminds me of my own awesome mum. Beautiful memories - thanks for sharing.

  4. A golden line--"I remember all of this, have forgotten too much already, and am thankful for it all."

  5. I love writing about family! I always get all teary-eyed and overly sentimental. :) But it was nice to be able to share this with my mom, too. After all those years dealing with me and my grumpiness, it's nice to let her know how much it all means to me.