Behind All Your Stories

But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.
— Mitch Albom, For One More Day

We had the stitches removed on Monday, and Story’s scar is healing nicely. I have a scar in almost the same place on my forehead, on the right instead of the left. My 3-year old self was walking in a pair of new shoes still connected by the little plastic “thingy” (as Sailor calls anything of which she doesn’t know the name). I do not remember if my mom knew I was doing this or if she had instructed me not to. But the brick fireplace in our living room was the reality I came to know when I tripped and fell.

Silly shoes. Or perhaps, Silly girl. My scar is my story now, and Story’s story too. We have had brick walls happen to us. We have braved stitches placed and stitches removed. We have lines that are lessons.

My mom’s stories are lessons too. As a 7th grader, she changed the spelling of her nickname from Jenny to Ginny. On the first day of class, Ginny boldly announced to her teacher the spelling of her name and proceeded to write this version on all her papers. My mom didn’t ask or tell her mom, and only when she brought papers home from school did my grandmother realize what had happened. Looking back now, my mom says she knew it broke her mom’s heart for the spelling of the name she loved and chose to be cast off in favor of a new and “cooler” spelling, yet my grandmother let it go. My grandmother knew there were more important things at stake, and she let love be the lesson that day.

It may be one of those moments, says Anne Lamott, where your heart sinks, because you think it means you have lost. But in surrender you have won.

My grandmother’s gift to my mom, and my mom’s gift of this story to me, inspire me to surrender the "right" things more often for the sake of my children’s hearts. Story will need less reminders than ever before about the brick wall in our playroom. I will hug her and remind her that a scar is a story and that her stories matter. Her story is not just her story: it is a gift and a connection and a lesson and a lovely, lovely thing.