Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! (Stephanie Kuehnert)


This photo of my mom and me sums up our relationship and the best gift she ever gave me: my love of the written word.

We read together every night when I was little. We visited the library nearly every day. When I became obsessed with the pirates in Peter Pan, she attempted to find pirate stories that would be appropriate for a four-year-old girl and when she couldn't, she just kept reading the same stories I wanted to hear over and over. The next obsession was Laura Ingalls Wilder and when I tried to dress up "old-fashioned" in a hand-me-down Laura Ashley dress and moonboots, wore this crazy outfit in public, and insisted on being called Laura, she indulged me.

Shortly after that (because Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired me) came the writing. Mom has been there every step of the way. She kept my first story:

She signed me up for annual Young Authors conferences in grade school, bought all of those total scam poetry anthology books that "accepted" my angsty teenage poetry, and when I was in a Very Dark Place in my early twenties, she was the one who convinced me to go back to college and pursue the dream she instilled in me as a little girl: to be a writer. To this day she's still the one I turn to when having doubts about keeping the dream alive (which happens often) and she's never stopped being emotionally and sometimes financially supportive (because it's not a career that pays well). Also, since she has worked as a nurse for nearly forty years, she's my go-to for fun medical questions about drowning, strokes, and pregnancies.

I dedicated my first book to her (even though it's about an absent mother and she's constantly telling people "Buy my daughter's book! The mother is nothing like me!") but I feel like I owe her more. Actually, I know I owe her everything.

So thank you, Mom, and thanks to all the moms out there who read to their children and support their dreams. You are the most important people in the world. Happy Mother's Day!

2 comments:

  1. My first book was about a girl with a schizophrenic mother, so my mom (who is not only NOT schizophrenic, but also a woman with a degree in psych) said the same thing when my book hit shelves! Love that you were inspired by Wilder (a fellow MO gal).

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  2. I love your first story with the blue egg protagonist!

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