On our Facebook page we asked about real life heroines and the response was huge.  An overwhelming number of people responded that their heroine was their mother or grandmother. The stories were touching.

So, in honor of Mother’s Day we collected stories. We wanted to know about your Mom, or Grandma, or Great-Grandma, or Aunt.  Today we are publishing all the stories in one very long post.

One entry was picked at random (now really, who are we to judge who has the most ‘heroic’ mom?)  and Gwen M. will receive an autographed copy of Bitches on a Budget for sending us her story..

*The picture is of Julia Ward Howe. She is most famous for writing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She also wrote  a Mother’s Day Proclamation (click on this link to read the whole proclamation) in 1870, urging women to rise up and unite in peace. It begins with these lines:  

“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs….”

Your Mother’s Day Proclamations:

Gwen Miller wrote:

“My Aunt Sandie was the best, she died on March 12 this year and everyday I have to remind myself that she is not physically here to talk to for advice and support. My aunt was an active supporter of breast cancer and ovarian cancer research, she was a 18 year survivor of breast cancer and 7 years of ovarian cancer. Along the way she served on the Denton County Child Welfare Board, she was a volunteer at the SPCA, and the Susan G. Komen for the cure races. She inspired me and supported me in many ways such as, never telling me I made a mistake in adopting my boys from foster-care, and supporting me when I returned to school last year. She was more of a grandmother or me-maw to my children than their own grandparents. The way she did not let cancer rule her life was incredible, she never let it get her down. Even though she is gone I vow to remember her zest for life and keep her as a part of me always.”


Christine Welch wrote:

“I’m guessing that the picture above is either Ann Jarvis or her daughter Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day. Though it was a Julia Ward or Julia Howe that was the first to introduce a ‘Mothering Sunday” for women of Englad to spend time with their mothers. I used Mother’s Day as a report/speech topic in one of my college classes last year – figured it was something I should know since I am a mother (of 4) myself and the history or origins of holidays intrigue me. Never realized it would come in handy someday – such as now!”

Jana Kaplan wrote:

My mother, Susan Allyn Streichler Kaplan, was born in Queens, New York on December 23, 1948. Her life has been one of illness and sadness. At the age of three, she contracted the dreaded polio virus and spent the next seven years of her life living in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Although she essentially lost her childhood, she went on to excel at Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, graduating one year early, at the age of 16. Her dream was to become a teacher, but this was a lost cause because of her handicap. There were laws prohibiting the handicapped people from doing certain things, like teaching. Alternatively, she went to business college and became a highly successful legal secretary, working at prestigious Park Avenue law firms. She met my father, Carl Martin Kaplan, through a mutual friend and married him on November 3, 1975. They had me on January 10, 1977. Although they both wanted more children, I was destined to be the only child, mainly because of her disability.

She and I never, ever, EVER got along; of course we both had issues and always tried to make things work. In 2002, she became so ill I was planning her funeral. She had been misdiagnosed and mistreated for Colitis when she actually had Crohn’s Disease. Thanks to the intervention of her dear friend and neighbor, we got her to a fabulous Doctor, and he essentially saved her life.

She has Crohn’s disease which will never go away and also suffers from post-polio syndrome, which keeps her confined to a wheelchair 99% of the time. She is completely dependent on others. Susan also deals with my aging grandparents on a daily basis, but that is another story unto itself.

Through all of this she has retained a remarkable strength and sense of humor, which I find to be inspirational. We have become friends through the maelstrom and speak on the phone almost every day. She is resilient, strong and hilarious and if I could do something to make her healthy I would in a heartbeat. She has never walked on a beach or run barefoot in the grass, things most people take for granted. Keep that in mind the next time you do these things.

Susan enjoys talking. A LOT. Laughing until she cries. Playing with Ripley the Wondercat. She loves to knit, read, shop, hang out with Carl, and be a complete sillyhead.”

Gabbie wrote:

“She would never have a child. Here’s what was piled up against her; diabetes, asthma, hypothyroid, & high blood pressure. October she was admitted into the hospital for 2 weeks. She had complications breathing, and to control it the doctor used steroids which raised her blood sugars. December, protein was found which lead doctors to hospitalize her again. Blood pressures 170/120 range. Blood pressures high enough for a stroke. March was the worst. 1 month trapped in the hospital, all of her symptoms going at once. April came and she was 37 weeks. Doctors say now is the time. Baby could need breathing tubes, IV in umbilical cord, and in incubator. But this Mother & daughter combo did just fine.

EVERYTHING went back to normal after delivery. I love you Mommy. Thank you for risking your life for me.”

G. Zike wrote:

“My maternal grandmother was one of the original BOAB. She, along with her husband raised eight children and she knew how to operate on a limited budget. She was an avid gardener and knew how to stretch a meal to feed the whole brood and many nights the table was set for 12 as she often fed her in-laws as well. I learned many things from my grandmother over the years. She truly was a beautiful woman who I think of often.”

Corinne Battersby wrote:

“My stepmother is my heroine. I moved out of my mother’s house when I was twelve to escape her abuse and moved in with my father. He struggled through several rocky relationships and drug abuse. My stepmother, Patty, and my father started off as friends at the office… and from the beginning, I hated her. I always felt like she was trying to take my father or hurt him like everyone else did. I didn’t trust her. Then my father moved in with my former stepmother and all contact between he and Patty stopped until we moved out about nine months later. About another nine months later, we moved in with Patty and her sons. And somehow, through all of this, my father kicked his drug habit with a lot of her help.

From the word go, I fought Patty. I disrespected her and talked back constantly. And she kept with me, always nice… never a negative word. It was my freshman year of high school and was dealing with the pressures of a new environment and new people, so I would lash out to make myself feel better. This attitude continued on until around the end of sophomore year. By then, Patty and my father had gotten married, bought me a puppy and cell phone,and I had struggled through my first year on the swim team where I had to learn to respect people or get lost.

Through out the rest of my high school career, we got along very well and, though I never wanted anyone to be my mother, she took over the role without me realizing it. Senior year, I met a boy online that lived in Florida and I fell for him. He and I made plans for him to visit me, then for me to move from California to Florida with him. Then entire time she was the only one I confided in and she supported everything I planned, even if she didn’t agree with it. When my father told me he wouldn’t help me pay for a thing, she pulled out a couple hundred dollars for my trip south. She helped me shop for snacks and essentials for the three day bus trip and let me borrow her cell phone for the ride. And when the day came for me to leave, she drove me to the bus station and cried with me while they loaded my bags.

In another life, I hated this woman. Now she’s become more of a mother to me than my own was in these last few years. I’d be lost without her and I am thankful for every day that she is in my father’s and my life…”

Dana wrote:

“My mother is my inspiration. We haven’t always seen eye to eye but the saying mothers know best is the truth in my moms case. Are family has been through many truamatic experiences and through it all my mom has been the rock that held us all together. I will be the 1st to admit I did a lot of hurtful and mean things growing up as a teenager not relizing my mom was only tryin to protect me. I am thankful my mom has stood by me and never once turned her back on me even at my worst. She is now a wonderful nana to my 4 boys and I am thanful each and every day that I am blessed to have such a wonderful mom. I am glad that my mother supports, loves me and encouraged me to be the woman and mother I am today. I wouldn’t be the person I am with out her and I owe her everything for bringing me into this world and dealing with the little brat I once was. I love you mom and Thank you for everything…Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful mothers, grandmothers, and the special women that help others to be the people they are today. <3”

Sandie Haley wrote:

“I belive the lady in the picture is Anna Jarvis! I posted the story of my grandmother on the website. My Grandmother passed on recently,my grandfather passed on when she was only 50 years old. They had 19 children and 52 grandchildren.At present there are 54 great grandchildren! She lived to be in her 90’s and was at home with family when she passed on.They also took in a young boy who became part of the family.”

Tyleen wrote:

“The lady in the picture is Joyce Hall’s Mother. Joyce Hall is the founder of Hallmark cards. He is also the creator of Mother’s day as well as a plethora of other holidays.

As far as a heroin first is my Mother at 81 she inspires me everyday, then my daughters one is a preschool teacher at UC Berkley and the other is a manager for Lilly’s pools. Top in the company is sales and had only been a manager for a year.”

Honoree Courage wrote:

“Long story short….my grandmother (Omi) came over to this country with my grandfather from Germany after WW2. She worked her a$$ off became a citizen the legal way (unlike most lazy people now), learned English, got a job at the University of Chicago and worked there for over 20 years in the Biophysics and Cancer research department as a lab tech. Later on as a now single mom with no support raised my mother on her own. Later on in life when my mom got divorced from the “monster” my Omi moved in with us when I was 8 to help raise me since my mom got no support and needed the help. When I was in my early 20’s the two women who were my world were hit my a drug induced di*# and my grandmother died 10 days after the accident as a result of her injuries. After my mom spent a month in a head trauma rehab, several months down the road, she found out she had non-hodgekins lymphoma. After battling that out and winning (yeah!) she now does her best to pay the bills (because, of course, the di*# from the car accident had NO insurance). She plugs along each day and I’m very proud of her. She definitely needs your book! I’ve learned so much from these two women and without them I wouldn’t be the strong, successful bull-headed bitch I am today.”

*Please note: We are publishing these stories unedited.