Speaking of Mother’s Day

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Stephen Colbert recently interviewed Anderson Cooper about ‘The Rainbow Comes and Goes’, the best-selling book he coauthored with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.  The two also created a CNN documentary ‘Nothing Left Unsaid’.

Anderson’s rationale for taking on the project was of special interest to me, a family historian. He said to Colbert, ‘My Dad died when I was 10. And I always had this fantasy about my Dad, that maybe he had written me a letter. The letter would show up when I was 18 or maybe when I was 21 — telling me all the things I didn’t know about him — all the things he wished for my life. Of course there wasn’t a letter. I didn’t want to have that same fantasy about my Mom so when she turned 91. I decided to get to know her as an adult.’

Have you considered documenting (in print, video or audio recording) an interview with  your mother? — or information about you that you want to pass on to your kids? An oral history or bio, an any form, becomes more precious with each passing year.  And, you never know when it will be too late to ask for that information.  Want help? familymattersguide.com will assist.

Or, if you are stuck figuring out what to record, consider the following questions to jump start the process:

Thirty Things You Never Knew about Mom (by Lisa Adachi Childs)

  1. What was it like being pregnant with (or adopting) me? How was it different from my siblings?
  2. What were you like as a child?
  3. What makes you happier: someone doing the dishes or someone giving you flowers?
  4. Tell me about your worst date ever.
  5. How many jobs have you had in your life? What did you learn from them?
  6. Who was your favorite person to spend time with when you were a teenager? Why?
  7. What kind of car did you learn to drive in? Who taught you?
  8. What was the most popular song when you were in high school? What kind of music did you like to listen to?
  9. Who was your role model as a kid? Who is it today?
  10. What was the highlight of high school for you?
  11. What are your favorite smells, sights, sounds, and feelings?
  12. Is there anything in your childhood you wish you could have changed? Why?
  13. What do you admire most about your parents?
  14. Did you have any traditions with your friends growing up? What about fun family traditions for the holidays?
  15. What is the greatest service someone has ever done for you?
  16. Tell me about your worst hair day ever. And what about your worst hairstyle ever?
  17. What is your first memory of Dad? What kind of boyfriend was he?
  18. As a teen, did you ever feel the Spirit prompt you very strongly to do something?
  19. What was your favorite restaurant or store as a kid?
  20. What’s the best thing that Dad has ever done for you? that you’ve done for him?
  21. What’s your dream job? Is it different from the job you dreamed about as a kid?
  22. Tell me about the first movie you remember going to. How much did a ticket cost?
  23. Which three foods do you wish didn’t exist, and which three foods do you wish you could eat every day?
  24. What was your first experience living outside of the home you grew up in?
  25. What would you want your grandkids to remember you for?
  26. Tell me about one day or event that you wish I could relive with you.
  27. What’s your favorite thing about having kids? What’s the hardest part? the most surprising?
  28. Do you have a favorite travel memory?
  29. What do you feel like you inherited from your mom and dad?
  30. What is your proudest moment as a mother?

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