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I love “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. The stories are always uplifting and provide a real sense of comfort.

In honor of mothers everywhere, and in time for Mother’s Day there are two new books in the Chicken Soup series. One is for Mothers and Daughters. The other is for Mothers and Sons. Below is a little excerpt from each.

These books make fabulous gifts. I have two of each to giveaway. To enter scroll down and leave a comment…maybe a Mother’s Day memory. Also, please SPECIFY if you would prefer the book for daughters or sons. On Mother’s Day (May 10) I will draw four random winners (two for each book).

Read the excerpt below and enjoy.

Like Mother, Like Daughter:

She Did It Her Way

Mother’s love grows by giving.

~Charles Lamb

“Mom, we’re getting married… sometime in June.” This

from my hippie daughter calling on a pay phone in

Maine. (No phone or electricity at her house — or perhaps

cabin is a better word.)

“We don’t want a fancy wedding or dressy clothes or a lot of

guests. We just want to be married in your backyard. I’ll let you know

the date.”

Long ago, her father and I made up our minds to listen to her and

do things the way she wanted as much as we could. And of course,

I was thrilled she was getting married. I was always secretly worried

that marriage was too “old-fashioned” for her. She was a child of the

’60s, eager to right the wrongs of the world, to live life on the edge

and to never be part of the “establishment.”

Well, backyard weddings can be lovely, I thought. It’s not our

beautiful church with a majestic organ, flowing white dress or bridesmaids.

But, still… I took an upbeat approach, which was really the

only sensible thing to do under the circumstances.

Later with dates arranged, a guest list of sorts (our family and

best friends and “a bunch of friends… we’ll let you know how many”)

and the food decided on (“only veggie stuff and some champagne”),

she agreed I could ask the minister of our church to perform the

ceremony “for legal purposes.”

All negotiations were going well until I mentioned the wedding gown.

“No special dress, Mom. Sorry. Your first daughter, your good daughter

(said with a wry smile, a favorite family joke) did the white dress and veil

thing. Not me. I have lots of clothes that would do for a wedding.”

I thought of all her dresses (short, wild, braless) and realized

that she mostly wore jeans or cut-offs. Nothing I had seen her wear

in years even whispered “wedding” to me.

So in the following days, ignoring my own good advice to let

her do it her way, I wandered around different stores and looked at

dresses that might do for my bride-to-be daughter. Then I saw it:

simple, unbleached muslin with a shirred waist, scooped neckline

with just a bit of Irish lace and little capped sleeves. It was long, but

not floor-length. It was graceful, but not formal. It was lovely and

simple, and it was my daughter.

Envisioning her wearing it, I bought the dress and took it

home.

Later that day, I placed the box on her bed with a little note stating:

“I just happened upon this while shopping (okay, a small white

lie). This looks like you. Would you try it on for me?”

When she came in that evening, she went to her room and all was

quiet. A bit worried I had hurt her feelings with my purchase, I went

upstairs to her room where she sat on the bed holding the dress on her

lap while tears rained down her cheeks — and she was smiling.

“I never knew you thought of me like this, Mom. The dress is so

lovely and soft and simple. I love it. And I’ll love wearing it for the

wedding. Thanks for knowing me so well.”

Two weeks later, on a sun-filled afternoon, friends gathered in

our backyard. Our daughter walked down the steps — to the strum

of a guitar — smiling proudly in her surprise dress. She looked wonderful,

as I knew she would.

It was a perfect wedding… almost.

Had I known her fiancé would be wearing yellow paisley bellbottoms,

I might have shopped for him as well!

~~Julie Firman

Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul

Mothers and Sons:

Against the Odds

It was the summer of 1942. I was nineteen years old and a signalman

third class on the USS Astoria stationed in the South

Pacific.

One hot night in August, we found ourselves skirmishing with

the Japanese for control of Guadalcanal, gearing up for the bloody

battle that soon followed. At midnight, I finished my duty on watch.

Still wearing my work detail uniform of dungarees and a T-shirt, and

only pausing long enough to unstrap my standard-issue life belt and

lay it beside me, I fell into an exhausted sleep.

Two hours later, I was awakened abruptly by the sound of an

explosion. I jumped to my feet, my heart pounding. Without thinking,

I grabbed my life belt and strapped it on. In the ensuing chaos,

I focused on dodging the rain of enemy shells that were inflicting

death and destruction all around me. I took some shrapnel in my

right shoulder and leg, but by some miracle, I avoided being killed.

That first battle of Savo Island lasted for twenty minutes. After the

enemy fire ceased, the men left standing helped with the wounded,

while others manned the guns.

I was making my way toward a gun turret when suddenly, the

deck disappeared. My legs windmilled beneath me as I realized that

an explosion had blasted me off the deck. My shock was immediately

replaced by a stomach-clenching fear as I fell like a stone — thirty feet

into the dark, shark-infested water below.

I immediately inflated my life belt, weak with relief that I’d

somehow remembered to put it on. I noticed between ten and thirty

men bobbing in the water in the area, but we were too far away from

each other to communicate.

I began treading water, trying to stay calm as I felt things brushing

against my legs, knowing that if a shark attacked me, any moment

could be my last. And the sharks weren’t the only danger: The powerful

current threatened to sweep me out to sea.

Four agonizing hours passed this way. It was getting light when

I saw a ship — an American destroyer — approaching. The sailors on

board threw me a line and hauled me aboard.

Once on the ship, my legs buckled and I slid to the deck, unable

to stand. I was fed and allowed to rest briefly. Then I was transported

back to the Astoria, which, though disabled, was still afl oat. The captain

was attempting to beach the ship in order to make the necessary

repairs.

Back on board the Astoria, I spent the next six hours preparing

the dead for burial at sea. As the hours passed, it became clear our

vessel was damaged beyond help. The ship was taking on water and

finally, around twelve hundred hours, the Astoria began to roll and

go under.

The last thing I wanted to do was to go into that water again, but

I knew I had to. Filled with dread, I jumped off the high side of the

sinking ship and began swimming. Although I still had my life belt

on, it couldn’t be inflated a second time. Luckily, I was soon picked

up by another destroyer and transferred to the USS Jackson.

Against all the odds, I had made it — one of the lucky men to

survive the battle of Savo Island. We were issued Marine uniforms,

and I spent my time, in between visits to the ship’s doctors for treatment

of my wounds, sitting on the deck of the Jackson, waiting for

our transport to San Francisco’s Treasure Island and the leave that

would follow.

Though it felt odd to wear the unfamiliar uniform, I wasn’t

sad to lose my old dungarees and T-shirt. The one thing I found

I didn’t want to give up was my life belt. I hung on to the khaki

cloth-covered rubber belt, studying it sometimes as I sat around on

the Marine ship.

The label on the belt said it had been manufactured by Firestone

Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, which was my hometown. I

decided to keep the belt as a souvenir, a reminder of how lucky I’d been.

When I finally took my thirty-day leave, I went home to my family

in Ohio. After a quietly emotional welcome, I sat with my mother

in our kitchen, telling her about my recent ordeal and hearing what

had happened at home since I went away. My mother informed me

that “to do her part,” she had taken a wartime job at the Firestone

plant. Surprised, I jumped up and grabbed my life belt from my duffel

bag, putting it on the table in front of her.

“Take a look at that, Mom,” I said. “It was made right here in

Akron at your plant.”

She leaned forward and, taking the rubber belt in her hands,

she read the label. She had just heard the story and knew that in

the darkness of that terrible night, it was this one piece of rubber

that had saved my life. When she looked up at me, her mouth and

her eyes were open wide with surprise. “Son, I’m an inspector at

Firestone. This is my inspector number,” she said, her voice hardly

above a whisper.

We stared at each other, too stunned to speak. Then I stood up,

walked around the table and pulled her up from her chair. We held

each other in a tight embrace, saying nothing. My mother was not a

demonstrative woman, but the significance of this amazing coincidence

overcame her usual reserve. We hugged each other for a long,

long time, feeling the bond between us. My mother had put her arms

halfway around the world to save me.

~Elgin Staples

Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul

Happy Mother’s Day everyone,

xoxo

-Carla

Don’t forget to enter the other giveaway if you haven’t already

  1. Hey I’m the first to comment 🙂
    Pick me? the one for the sons (hopefully one day I’ll have a daughter too!)

  2. I always heated mother’s day because it usually conflicted with my birthday parties-my birthday’s May 12. But now that I’m a mother it’s simply double the fun! I have a boy-so sons for me…

  3. Thank you for the the *giveaway* if it’s okay I’d like to be entered into both drawings. If you’ll only do one then please do the mother/daughter. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for the giveaway! No gender preference over here.

    I’d like to contribute something as a preemptive “thank you”: a great way to incorporate babies into Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries… any card-oriented event, really) is to hold a marker in your baby/toddler’s hand so that they can fill out the card “themselves” (i.e. you guide their hand when writing) and then let them deliver the card personally (i.e. let your one year old run up to someone to deliver a card, tape it to a crawler’s back and let them crawl to the recipient, etc.). It’s very sweet and always appreciated!

  5. Thanks for the giveaway! I’d love to be entered in for the Mother/Son book. I have 1 son and another boy on the way!

  6. I would love to be entered into the giveaway. I have a boy, so the son’s book for me! Thank you!

  7. This is my first Mother’s Day with my 10 week old Daughter, and I would love a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul Like Mother Like Daughter. Thanks!

  8. dini jacobowitz

    May has always been a big month in our family. My mother’s birthday was May 10, this would have been a big Mother’s Day, but she’s not with us anymore. My sister and I both have our birthdays in May, as well as my daughter, my niece and 2 of my great-nephews! With all these mothers and daughters this would be a great present for us all to share. Happy Mother’s Day to you as well!

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