Mama said a St Louis tradition.
One story at a time.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, and be inspired by these real stories about motherhood.
Live at the Grand Ole Theater, I'm Judy Diamond.
I am so proud and honored to be and humbled to be part of this amazing ten year anniversary of Mama Said Mama said as emcee.
So talking to some of the cast members here we have Aaron.
Aaron, what's your last name?
Murray Aaron Murray.
Now, Aaron, you know, too.
What made you want to write something in to be a part of this show?
Well, actually, Sue Russell Orlovsky, she's the one that told me about the show and asked me to write a story about my mom.
And it was a real struggle to find out just one story about my mom and I had had no idea it was going to be this big of a show and really excited to actually be a part of it.
One of my best friends, Jodie Grizzle West, is one of the speakers here, and I love her book and I love her as a person and I cannot wait to hear her speak.
She's such a powerful woman who has inspirational stories to share with the world.
So I'm excited to see that come to life in front of a live audience.
Now, what made you come?
My girlfriend heard about it and we did tickets.
And here we are.
How are you connected to Mama's?
Are you a mom?
Do you have a mama?
My mother passed, of course.
But I do have a loving grandkids, so that should qualify me as a mother.
Actually, I have a daughter.
I had a daughter who passed when she was 17.
Bridget and my son Matthew is 36.
He's the one that's a jazz drummer.
A jazz drummer.
It's hard to be a mom.
It's even harder to lose a child.
Yes, it is hard to lose a child.
But you know, the spirit lives on.
Wait a second.
17 years and 17 months?
Gracie was almost 17 months, and she's been gone seven years.
I think they have each other Little angels up there.
Well, they're with us.
They're with us all the time.
Yeah, I totally agree.
My name is Shaquan Grove, and I am here because I belong to the meanest mother in Missouri.
So it was 2017, and I had the opportunity to tell a story about my mom being the meanest mother in Missouri.
And when I heard about Mama said, Mama said, I'm like, this is definitely the place to share that story.
One of my guilty pleasures.
Let's say corn.
Corn on the cob.
Off the cob.
Bold, fried, seasoned.
If it's corn, I'm probably going to want it.
Definitely gourmet popcorn.
That is my thing.
That is my guilty pleasure.
That is my story.
And I'm sticking to it.
On May 19th, 1977, the meanest mom in the Midwest had labor pains so bad that she forgot to comb her daughter's hair before school.
So this precious seven year old had been begging for a live baby doll until she broke her parents down.
And I was the real test of parenthood, the payback, the one who would challenge Mama for many years to come.
You know, I recognize Mama's mean isms at age four, when she punished me for things that Angela would do.
My imaginary friend was the only one bold enough to stand up to her.
So when Mama said she Don't play with my antiques, Angela did it anyway.
And when she said no, say no candy before dinner, Angela said it was okay.
So by age six, Angelo and I had had enough.
We wanted to go live with Grandma in Starkville, Mississippi.
I mean, it was the best place for us to be free from the meanest mom in the Midwest.
I told her our plans and she agreed.
So I packed my suitcase with things that we needed.
You know, the essentials told mom that we were on our way.
As we were walking out the door.
Mom said, Wait, did I buy you that coat?
I said, Yes.
And she said, Well, you can't take them with you.
So I gave her my cute picante and coat.
And then she went through everything in the suitcase and anything I didn't buy, I had to leave at the house.
When we were done, I was standing there butt naked.
Mama said, Looks like you're ready to go.
Then she opened the door and sent us on our way past.
It was the coldest winter ever, so my sister was so hysterical she had to call my dad because he wasn't home and come and save me.
It was the meanest thing a mother could do.
Well, Mom wasn't done doing main things.
It was one summer evening.
I was nine years old and the pop truck filled the neighborhood with the sounds.
So all the kids scramble to go get their money.
Except Mama said I couldn't have any.
So I got real clever.
I went to the bathroom to flush the toilet, took my piggy bank, shut the shimmy out of Piggy, and to a quarter drop.
Everything was going fine.
I was enjoying my treat until Mama came outside and cold busted me with blue lips and the look of terror on my face.
She embarrassed me in front of my friends and then put me on punishment for a week in the basement.
It was more like solitary confinement.
So by age 13, tell you the truth, I didn't think Mama still had it in her.
So I was disrespecting her with my rolling eyes and my sassiness.
Pretty much I didn't consider the consequence of my mouth writing a check that my butt was not prepared to cash.
So by the time I was 14, Mama's rules seemed endless.
No hanging out with friends.
Unless she knew their parents.
No lipstick until high school.
No skating every week.
No playing in the street.
Walking through the grass or answering with.
She made me do extra schoolwork, read all summer, sing in the choir, attend Bible camp, all the mean things a mama could do.
She even made me baby sit and then save the money.
She made me make my bed, iron, cook, wash dishes, clean windows as if it was going to be my career.
Then she made me go to college, away from home and separated me from my high school boyfriend.
And she knew that we were supposed to get married.
Well, now that I'm a mother, I know everything she did wasn't necessarily mean.
It was meaningful.
She taught me such life lessons.
Like Believe in God and prayer and forgiveness.
Always persevere with dignity in the face of adversity.
That being black is a gift.
And to learn my heritage and embrace my strength, advocate for my sons, teach them right from wrong.
And as a wife, there will be times of compromise and sacrifice.
And above all, do what makes me happy.
So, Mom, although you were mean, your discipline planted seeds from the fruit of your spirit into my life.
I love you, I honor you, I respect you and appreciate every meaningful thing that you did for me and the many selfless acts you do for others.
So, Mama, where your meanest mom in the Midwest title with pride because you definitely deserve it.
I think the most challenging time that I went through in the last couple of years is during my cancer journey, my chemo journey.
I had always had this identity about my hair, my hair since I was 14 years old, was my crowning glory.
And about a month and a half into my chemo treatment, it all fell out and I was bald.
The way I became a part of this wonderful show is I met Laura Redmond Rae back in junior high school.
Fast forward to our 40th high school reunion.
A ton of people were there.
Laura and I sit down.
We strike up an immediate friendship.
She tells me about this wonderful show that she's producing.
She says, I know you have a great story.
I told my story there.
It was so much fun.
And then I continue this story a second time at the second show, and then I get to do it a third time.
And I'm continuing the saga about hair.
October 2021 The universe pulled a fast one on me when I least expected it.
An old high school flame returned into my life.
What a gift.
At 63, we were both settled in our lives, had exceptional careers, and were ready for something new, different, unexpected, maybe crazy.
Little did we know that this newfound romance would be challenged in ways we couldn't have imagined.
November 2021 A regularly scheduled mammogram included horrific new protocols having me defy the law of bodily mechanics.
My technician, Donna, had me perform impossible gyrations as she pulled and pushed and stretched my taut skin while telling me Do not breathe.
Afterwards, I expected to hear a happy go lucky.
Hey, see you next year.
Oh, no, no, no, no, no.
Instead, she solemnly said, You need to speak with diagnostics immediately.
December 2021 Cancer.
Did that nurse just tell me I have cancer?
You have triple negative breast cancer.
Next week, you will begin an aggressive course of treatment.
I tried to listen.
I took a deep breath, and I asked three very important questions.
What is triple negative breast cancer?
What is our next course of action?
And how do I navigate a new relationship while having cancer with the dreaded chemo side effects?
I stopped listening to the nurse instead.
You know, I heard a soft, purposeful voice of my departed mother whispering into my ear.
But what about your higher?
And how will he love you without your higher?
You see, I have a genetically based predisposition for hair neuroses in 2006, after 70 years of smoking.
My very southern mother was diagnosed with lung cancer six weeks after her diagnosis.
She passed her accelerated passing was due to her vehemently refusing to take the dreaded chemo.
With chemotherapy, she was guaranteed to lose her hair and in the end, losing her perm dyed t sprayed hair was just too much.
She had declined any medical intervention and went home to die with dignity.
At 86, she was ready.
She was in control.
She wanted to let go without the pain of chemo and was determined she would pass with a full head of hair.
Soon after beginning my dreaded course of chemotherapy, I did lose all of my hair on the day when handfuls tumbled to my shoulders.
We shaved my head.
I felt such an immediate sense of relief as the strangely joyful action gave me a single moment of control at the beginning of an uncontrollable journey.
Who knew that such a defiant act would signal my dependency upon the acceptance of chemotherapy, medicine and the universe?
Right then I made the choice to live.
And to live required me to laugh as my beautiful hair was lost to the floor, the rest, including my eyebrows and eyelashes.
And when I say all of my hair, I mean all of my hair, if you know what I mean.
Fell to the loss of all my hair was absolutely gut wrenchingly horrifying.
And you know what?
We just laughed through it.
My boyfriend and I laughed together.
I mean, why not?
Throughout the following 15 month journey, you know, I relied on laughter as the tool of my survival arsenal.
LAUGHTER and love kept me present.
I laugh to stay alive.
I laughed every morning as I would drag my breathless self to the mirror and meet and greet my jolly new self.
Good morning, Uncle Fester, in utter defiance to my mother's own personal decision to pass with a full head of hair.
I claimed my life by laughing while letting go of my control, my pride, my vanity and my hair.
After those long months of fatigue beyond days carb surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and untold other medications.
I am cured.
I owe my life to the brilliantly precise life saving mammography of Donna, the technician, the dedicated doctors, the nurses, the technicians and the other medicines of faith and laughter.
My supportive daughter and her family got me through the worst days when it was hard to find joy and curiously, my steadfast and supportive boyfriend, along with my network of beautiful friends, were the ones who taught me how to love myself again and embrace my now inner Uncle Fester.
I will take one last deep breath and walk away from this crazy journey knowing that losing my hair after all, was irrelevant.
My name is Rosalind Scott and I was born and raised right here in the city of St Louis.
I have when I grew up and went to school here, I went to Beaumont High School and then I went to the University of Missouri and Columbia and I started my career teaching in the St Louis Public schools.
I met Sue at the Gateway Writing project.
That's how I got involved with Mama said Mama said.
And she she and I worked five or six years as a teacher consultant for the Gateway Writing Project.
I also attend Calabrian Presbyterian Church, where I love my church family, and I had a love for writing and I've just loved.
About ten years ago I wrote a play and this year it was produced here in the city of St Louis.
So I'm very happy about that.
And now I'm on Mama said, Mama, said my grandmother.
Rosebud Williams Turner was very dramatic.
She played the piano, recited long poems, and she taught me the art of reciting poetry.
Had she had the opportunity, she would have been an outstanding actor.
We usually spent Saturday nights at my grandparents home.
I was five or six.
My sister Ruth, Catherine was four or five.
My grandmother would take us to Sundays school at Antioch Baptist Church on Sunday mornings, so she would have to get up pretty early to make sure all of us were in our seats at 8 a.m. sharp.
My grandparents lived on the second floor of a four family flat, 4236 Kennerly Avenue on most Saturday nights.
My grandfather imbibed a stag beer too.
Most of the time he was the one who went down to the basement and added coal to the furnace and stoked it to keep the house heated.
This particular Sunday morning here refuse to budge from bed to go down the two flights of stairs to the basement.
My grandmother was so upset with him because she wanted the house to be warm for my sister and me to get up and take a bath and get ready for church.
Perhaps my grandfather may have consumed more than two stags the night before.
Or perhaps he was giving himself a break since he was the main stoker.
Every other day of the week, the next thing we knew, my grandmother was descending the stairs as she pounded upon each step.
She shouted, I'm a man and I'm a woman.
I'm a cow, ma'am.
I'm a doll, Pam.
My sister and I would steal stag snuggling in our roll away bed.
Thought the answer that was funny at the time.
We looked at each other in wonder and sniggered.
We didn't dare let our grandmother see us.
I didn't understand her words then.
However, now that I am 79 years old, I know exactly what she meant and how she felt.
I think the poet Langston Hughes said it best in his poem Mother to Son.
Well, son, I'll tell you, life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It had tax in it.
And splinters and bullets torn up and places with no carpet on the floor bare.
But all the times I has been climbing on and reaching lands and turning corn and corn in a dark wood ain't been no life.
So, boy, don't you sit down on those steps because you find it's kind of hard.
Cause I still climb and, honey, I still going.
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
Life is no crystal stair for a woman.
Sometimes a woman has to work like a man.
Do the homework and chores.
Chores of a woman give birth and breastfeed her child like a cow and get mistreated like a dog.
My grandmother was a wise and wonderful woman, and I will never forget her love for her family and her love for poetry.
Hi, my name is Jody Griswald West and this is actually my second time with Mama Said Mama said I first heard about it because a friend of mine was one of the producers and she mentioned it.
A year passed, she mentioned it, a year passed, and then we lost our youngest daughter, Gracie, and she said, You have to tell your story.
So I came in for auditions and I met Laura, and I don't think anyone ever tells her no.
And she liked the story.
So I was part of the 2017 show, and I'm really excited to be back and share my story again.
My family's really excited and I think it's going to be a great show.
My go to Guilty pleasure is dark Chocolate with a really good nice glass of red wine.
And it's not a secret, though.
So that's that's my go to guilty pleasure.
If I were to have a superpower, it would probably be to be able to reach into people's souls to help them be the best versions of themselves.
But I'm pretty sure that's what was given to Gracie, and it was really awesome to watch her do that.
After having two healthy babies at age 36 and 37, I was addicted to motherhood and wanted more.
Over time, though, we came to believe that this just wasn't in the cards for us.
Our family was complete.
It was a few years later.
God surprised us.
I was pregnant again, age 42.
At first we chose not to share the news with anyone.
We had lost several babies along the way and we were unsure where this journey would take us.
At four and a half months, I finally did go see the doctor.
He congratulated me.
Everything looked great.
A little girl due on Christmas.
I went back again at six months.
All still seemed good, but my doctor wanted some genetic testing because of my age.
You know, I respected his request.
I wasn't at all concerned, though.
I didn't even pay attention at that appointment.
I knew my baby was just fine.
The phone rang 24 hours later.
The words of my doctor were gentle but shocking.
Sorry, kid, she's not going to make it.
She was diagnosed with Trisomy 18.
Only about 10% of these babies ever survive utero.
The genetic counseling office suggested we terminate.
They said this would be a strain on our family.
God sent us this child and a child we would have.
I prayed like never before.
I pulled together the strongest prayer warriors I knew.
I focused on my faith, never on the facts.
The only time I researched God interrupted and he said, Don't look there.
Always look up to me.
I was led.
She was coming and with a huge purpose.
Weekly ultrasounds always showed at least one image of her pointing straight up to heaven.
Still no believers but Amazing Grace.
He did arrive as faithfully expected £4, three ounces.
Time doesn't allow me today to tell you about that day, but it was a tough one for all of us, especially my husband.
Our fight wasn't over either.
We spent 77 days in the NBCU, two different hospitals, three major surgeries before we finally came home.
I never left her side.
I ran my life from either a hospital room or my home office that I shared with Gracie.
I slept only three or 4 hours each night.
My husband traveled for work, so it was me, two young children, my business and a baby that needed me around the clock.
The story of Amazing Grace is as deep as it is wide.
It was a blessing to be her mother and watch her at work.
You could see her change people right before your eyes.
It was as if she touched your soul and made you want to be a better person.
She approached every obstacle she faced with a smile and she melted the hearts of everyone around her.
There was just something about sweet, Amazing Grace, and everybody saw it.
After almost 17 months, Gracie felt her mission was complete.
She was tired.
She left us to do her work.
I was lost.
I had two other young children watching me.
I had to get up.
I had to rise.
I also had to make sure no one would forget Gracie.
Grace's legacy was soon founded.
I recently published Miracles of Grace to share the blessing of choosing to see life through the lens of a miracle.
Amazing Gracie, for all the lessons.
You know, it's crazy how your scariest, toughest, most challenging days can truly be your best days ever.
I wouldn't trade one second of my time with her to forgo the emptiness in my heart Today.
It's been seven years.
Never a day goes by that I don't think of her being.
Grace's mom was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
She made me stronger.
She made my faith deeper.
She opened my eyes to so much.
She helped me find the miracles in the times that tested me most.
And to think God chose me to be her mom.
Since 2013, I have been the co-producer, co-director of this fabulous show, Giving Motherhood a microphone.
I used to always say, If you have an ovary, if you used to have an ovary, or if you know someone with an ovary, you qualify to be in this show showcasing Saint Louis, showcasing the talent that we have in Saint Louis has been one of the greatest things I've ever done.
I am a co-owner, a very cool record store.
I've written several cookbooks.
I have a goofy YouTube cooking video with my best friends.
But the one thing that I am so proud of is this show, because not only does the whole entire audience go crazy over these stories and the talent, you laugh, you'll cry, you'll be inspired.
But then we give the proceeds to a nonprofit organization in Saint Louis.
So it's definitely a win win.
It's a win win for the cast.
It's a win for the audience, and hopefully it's a win win for you.
We all try to be the best moms we possibly can be, right?
We will walk across the planet for our kids, right?
So why do I always have to screw things up for my kids to the point of them wanting to change their identity and enter a witness protection program?
One truly sad example was just a few years ago, after a really stressful day at work, no time to eat breakfast or lunch rained all day and I looked like a drowned, old, tired rat.
And as much as I wanted to skip it with ever every single fiber in my being, I just knew that I had to go to our daughter's parent teacher conference.
I walked into the huge gym.
In typical St Louis fashion, this was the same high school I attended where I was a total nerd who didn't go out on one frigging date the entire four years.
So this drone drab looking thing, me knew over half of these 5000 fellow helicopter parents.
But to be honest, two and a half hours into the homestretch, I was feeling pretty damn good.
According to all of her teachers, Maddie was kicking ass and taking names.
I only had one teacher left.
I was glowing.
Actually, a big cocky Maddie was doing great.
You see, teachers always hinted that she was A.D.D., ADHD, OCD.
I always pooh poohed everyone thinking, Oh, no, not our kid.
She's just special ed.
I was definitely in that land of denial.
I finally got to the front of the line to talk to Mr. Corwin.
He said, Well, Mrs. Raye, your daughter's doing really well.
She's got an 88 percentile in her class.
I said, Oh, that's fantastic.
Is there anything she could do to turn her body into an A any extra credit assignment?
He nodded and said, Well, that's not necessary.
Maybe she could probably do it by just acing the assignment and that she turned in last night.
How's she doing with it?
Well, that's funny that you ask that she really had a problem as to where to put the hymen on the picture.
The woman last night, you see, the assignment was to draw anatomically correct male and females with all of their reproductive organs.
He looked at me as if I had totally lost my frigging mind.
His bald head turn beet red beads of sweat were starting to form.
And he said, Ma'am, you do mean where she should put the hyphen right?
Not the hymen in slow motion.
I swear everyone stopped.
You could hear a pin drop as the 10,000 parents starting pointing at me and laughing hysterically, hysterically I squeamish.
Lee said, No, I meant hymen.
Well, you are the health teacher, right?
He looked at me and screamed, No, lady, I'm the English teacher.
I'm sure that if I had just kept my big mouth shut and she's doing great.
My sweet, beautiful kid wouldn't be thinking about going into therapy today.
I was invited to write a story about my mom from Sue.
She is one of my mom's best friends and probably my mom's only best friend, and she asked me if I wanted to write a story about either my mom and my wife and I was a little hesitant at first because I don't mind writing the story I just didn't know wasn't involved in this entire show.
And it's been a really, actually wonderful surprise.
I didn't know we were doing a lot of the cameras and shots and everything, and it's been pretty interesting.
One of the things I would love to happen well, one of the artists I would love to see if there were no money issues or travel restrictions was probably Stevie Wonder.
Stevie, you wanted to since I was a little kid, I'd love to see him perform.
He has a ridiculous collection of music and is all amazing.
So I would love to see him perform live and just sit down and have a conversation with the Great.
It's a challenge to think of just one story about my mom, but one that first comes to mind is when we brought home our oldest boy, her first grandson in my mother's an extremely strong moment, but to see the look on her face when she saw her first grandchild was spectacular.
My wife, Tamika, and I went through the adoption process, and let's just say it was challenging after a lot of time and a lot of heartbreak, we finally were successful in completing an adoption plan with a wonderful birthmother, my own mother was well aware of all the hurdles we were jumping through.
However, she wasn't exactly aware of when we were going to bring home our first grandbaby.
My wife and I decided to play a trick on my mom.
We asked her to come to our house and help us fill out some paperwork that was part of the adoption process.
She had no idea we had already brought it home.
The moment we opened the door, she came into our house and started crying and she started crying too.
And that's when she knew in that instant we all understood that this was going to be my mom's new purpose.
Being a grandma.
You see, years earlier, my mom had an accident, and since then she was in almost constant pain.
The nerve damage done to her head means that simple things like reading a book or combing her hair caused her to suffer in excruciating ways.
Having a grandchild didn't make the hurt any less, but it did give her an endless supply of joy and gave her a reason to power through that pain.
She immediately realized that she was here to build a bond with this new little human.
And she loved him with every fiber of her being.
When my wife went back to work, my mom asked if she could watch Ian like we were going to say no.
So mom came to our house five days a week to bond with her new grandbaby.
She changed diapers, read books, cooked, cleaned and did laundry, true nanny style.
We were so grateful for all the help and she was so grateful to be so close to.
And then when Mom started watching Ian at her house, she turned her home into a preschool center, a preschool classroom on steroids in her living room, was now a bouncy house.
On her covered porch was a water play table and kids sized cars to ride.
All over the house where things were labeled.
So Anka learned to read, and Peppa Pig stuff was everywhere.
My mom came to life and started living again because of Ian.
Seeing her grandbaby every day was the reason she had endured years of chronic pain.
Ian was her reward.
As soon as she picked, as soon as we picked up our son, she'd fix herself some dinner and get ready for bed because she was beyond exhausted.
But the next morning she'd be up ready to see her book.
I loved watching my mom as a grandma before she had to retire.
She was a teacher.
Now she helps me learn to be a more patient parent.
I'm being schooled in the powerful love a grandmother has for her grandchild.
I thought parenting was pretty easy because of the kind of kid Ian was until Eli, our second son, came along.
And Eli is a whole other story.
The first time I auditioned for the show, I did it because I wanted my mother's story to be told.
I was adopted when I was a baby, an infant, and my birth mother committed suicide when I was about nine, and I didn't find out who she was until I was in my forties.
And her story really didn't ever get told.
She had three children and just kind of vanished when she killed herself.
So I wanted to honor her and tell her story.
So that's why I auditioned the first year.
The musician that I would love to spend some time with is John Prine.
He is such a storyteller, was such a storyteller, and had such a wonderful sense of humor.
He's dead now, but if we could recreate him for an evening, I would love to.
To spend a day or some time with him talking about songwriting and his musical journey and his life.
He started out as a postal worke well loved musician.
It seemed like each summer or holiday break, our son came home with a new one, a new tattoo.
It all began with a penguin, then a huge skateboard logo that looked like a double with flames for hair, then some Chinese characters, then dying to live.
We got worried and seemed determined to get every inch of his skin tatted up.
So we begged.
We told in this would be the perfect Christmas present.
Just wait a while for the next tattoo and don't get any more tattoos until your frontal lobe is fully developed.
We explained that the frontal lobe of the brain helps make rational decisions and it doesn't finish developing till people are in their mid-twenties.
We pleaded, but we wondered what our son's frontal lobe ever mature.
Did even have a frontal lobe.
The tattoos kept on coming.
One evening after graduating from college, Ian made my husband and me sit down on the couch.
We got nervous.
I want to do something for you too, because you've done so much for me over the years.
Oh, we both breathed a sigh of relief.
Maybe he had a handwritten card for us or a gift.
I want to honor you.
I want to get your portrait inked right here on my chest.
This was too awful to even consider.
But what could we say?
So far, nothing had slowed down his trips to the tattoo salon.
My husband and I sat there speechless until a brilliant idea came to me.
I immediately hissed, Ian, no girl is going to have sex with you if your parents are staring at her the whole time.
I'm happy to report that my face is not on his flesh and there were no more tattoos after that.
Hi, my name is Samia.
I'm from Syria.
My name is.
I am the interpreter and Im Mary Vogel.
I am a welcome neighbor volunteer.
And Samia is my friend.
What was the piece of advice that you heard from your mother or grandmother that you still lived with until today?
A lot of sabudana filled.
Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Yeah, we had to be patient south because we were forced out of Syria or we went to Iraq.
We lived in a refugee camp for eight years and we were reassured.
So I thought, well, find a way out.
And, you know, for our upcoming you not to come to the States, we were really patience and thank you, God for everything.
Hello, my name is Sami Isa and I always wanted to be a mother too.
Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Foreign dialect My husband Moussa and I grew up in Syria in a Kurdish community.
We were forced to leave amidst the bombings during the Syrian civil war Due to the war, we lost many friends and family, including my husband's best friend Milad.
Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Foreign dialect Foreign dialect overnight we went from being a prosperous, happy, hardworking, upper class Syrian family, leaving our home, our business, our jobs and everything we owned in order to escape to live in an Iraqi refugee camp.
We lived there for eight very long years.
I even gave birth to our third daughter, Reem, in that camp.
Foreign dialect in November 2021.
We were very to come to the United States, even though most and I knew that what we were doing the best we could to give a better life to our beautiful children.
Not a day goes by.
I don't cry because I miss my mother, sister, brothers, nieces and nephews so much.
My dear father died three months after we made it to the United States.
Foreign dialect Yeah, we are all working so hard to fit in and especially learn to speak and read English.
When we lived in Iraq, we all learned Arabic, which is totally different than Kurdish.
Now we are learning English with an entirely different alphabet.
It's been difficult to say the least.
Foreign dialect We were blessed to have a baby boy Millard, named after my husband's best friend on August 7th, 2022, at Barnes Hospital.
So besides cooking, cleaning, learning to drive and taking care of a newborn, I've been studying and doing my homework every day so that I can help teach my family English to my teacher.
Laura told me to stop watching Arabic Netflix.
Instead, we all need to watch children's television shows and soap operas because they speak slower and are easier to understand.
Foreign dialect A few weeks ago when our weekly assignment was to learn conjunctions and auxiliary verbs, Lara told me to write out five sentences each that begin with words like Should, would, could.
And if I knew that I was watching too much children's TV when my first sentence for the word if was If you're happy and you'll know it, clap your hands, add them up like an elevator at the villa.
We laughed for a long time.
Foreign dialect We have been helped by so many Saint Louis organizations, including Welcome neighbor STL, Bilingual International, the International of India, Health Care, Oasis International, as well as many food pantries around the city.
We are so grateful, but things are still difficult and lonely as we struggle every day to pay our bills, work hard while trying to fit into a completely different culture than what we knew before the war Foreign dialect as a mother, I always tried to teach my children the best of both cultures because I never want them to forget where they came from.
I want them to be proud of their religion, their culture, and who they are Foreign dialect I want them to fit in with the other children in school and thrive in their new country.
That is not always easy.
I can't wait for that day when I can go back to visit my boy family.
But now I can't wait to see what our future will be, ends NZ in this wonderful country.
And in the meantime I will always do whatever whatever I need to do.
And in order to be the best mother I can be because I love being a mum.
Oh, hi, I'm Terry Baker, one of the producers of the Mama Said Show.
I think this show is probably made for people like me who like to talk and tell stories.
My mother, however, would have hated the show because she was a very private person and I try to keep her out of my stories as much as possible.
I was the kind of kid that by age five was considered a world class blabbermouth.
And before I would leave to go outside, my mom would often caution, You don't need to tell everything.
Some things are private.
What would the neighbors think if they heard you say?
I wouldn't be able to get in and out of a bathtub.
So while I love the show, my mom would have hated it.
My children are always nervous when they know I'm going to tell a story because they want to know, is it about me or is it about them?
And if so, what am I going to say?
But if they don't ask, don't tell them.
My mom often told the story of my brother and his friend barging into the bathroom one afternoon to ask for dues before they went to their Cub Scout meeting, she claimed she strategically placed a washcloth on top and hope bubbles hit everything below the water.
She granted permission to take money out of her purse and asked them to please close the door on their way out.
They didn't seem to think anything was unusual about the situation, and while shocked, Mom went with the flow and finished her bath.
Now, after knee replacement surgeries, my orthopedist warned me that with two bionic knees, my range of motion was decreased.
I loved hot bubble baths and set out to prove him wrong.
So for years I twisted and placed my feet at the end of our small tub and pushed myself up and out with the help of a grab bar.
We downsized two homes last summer and for the first three months I happily showered in the master bathroom.
Then, after a particularly long day, a soak sounded wonderful.
So I ran a bath in another bathroom.
As I relaxed in the steaming water, I noticed that this tub seemed a little bit longer than my old tub, and it didn't have a grab bar.
Soon, my relaxation washed down the drain with the dirty bath water.
My tried and true method of exiting the tub wasn't working, so I scooted myself around to face the opposite direction.
In the process I wedged the rubber bath mat up my You know what?
And once I broke free from the annoying suction cups, I threw the mat across the room.
I then tried every contortion known to womankind to no avail.
I panicked and I worked up a sweat.
Should I reach for a towel, cover myself and just wait?
Or maybe refill the tub all the way to the top and float out?
Well, I wasn't home alone.
I'd call for help.
My husband was in the lower level watching TV with our dogs.
It's their evening thing.
The dogs are always on high alert.
They hear squirrels crunching on acorns three yards away, they hear everything.
So I yelled, I screamed, and I repeatedly beat on the tub.
Nothing I wanted out.
In desperation, I channeled my inner sea lion.
I rolled onto my stomach, I hooked an arm and the corresponding leg over the tub side to flip and flop out onto the floor, aggravated and thoroughly disgusted.
I put on my robe and stomped downstairs to the family room where my worthless rescuer sat on the sofa watching Wheel of Fortune.
My husband said, Oh, you must have enjoyed your bath.
You were up there a really long time, huh?
After I told him I couldn't get out of the tub, he offered to install a grab bar.
I resisted the urge to slap him silly with the wretched bath vat and instead told him, Don't bother.
I was never taking another bath, so I guess it could have been worse.
There could have been Cub Scouts with me in the bathroom begging for money.
My name is Hannah Mayer.
This is my third show.
I'm very excited.
My first one was the inaugural show 2013, and then the second one was 2017 8 to 19.
My life's a little bit of a blur.
I don't remember exactly when, but very excited to be in the show again.
Laura called and threatened me to audition and she's very intimidating and well connected.
So I said, Of course, of course, whatever you want.
So The most important piece of wisdom I ever got was probably from my grandma, who didn't tell me so much, but modeled that a human being can every day smoke three packs of cigarets, drink a liter of vodka, get literally zero physical activity, and still live to be 83.
And if that's not a testimony to resilience and inner strength, I just I don't know what it is.
And I've kind of used that as my guiding light for health and fitness every morning.
And it's really it's really taught me a lot.
While back, I was driving the neighborhood to school, listening to my nineties gangsta rap and minding my own business.
After a few minutes, the excited voices in the back crew hushed, which any parent will tell you is when the stuff gets real and you better tune in a.s.a.p.
Hey, I heard my six year old murmur to our captive audience.
You guys want to know what the most, most, most bad word in the world is?
Oh, I couldn't wait to hear what cute little kindergarten appropriate profanities she'd picked up on the playground.
I was envisioning something along the lines of beauty or poppycock.
I made a mental note to jot whatever it was she said down in her baby book for a nice little chuckle later.
It's she declared, Oh, my God, Lila!
I exclaimed, Where did you hear that?
Obviously, she was extremely proud of herself for solving this mystery so early in life.
The collective gasps from the van full of children hung in the air as I came to a screeching halt on the side of the road and hit pause on Biggie, I could see she was confused, wondering why I was upset about something that was so obvious.
I'd probably drop the F-bomb a half dozen times already that morning and it was just shy of 8 a.m.. Well, you, she began.
Time to go, I interjected, throwing the van and drive.
The children just stared back at me with wide eyes, mouths agape, still in shock.
Now we're late, I said, hitting the gas.
We drove the rest of the way in silence.
Me deep in thought, contemplating how to explain to my kids how the world works.
Basically why I do all the things I tell them not to.
Oh, and don't tell your parents, I yelled as they open the door and the terrified children leaped out of my minivan and sprinted away from me as quickly as possible.
I became go to carpool.
That afternoon when my daughter came home.
I sat down next to her while she had her snack.
So that word you said this morning, you know, you're never supposed to say it, right?
Well, why do you say it, then?
I still didn't have an answer.
Only that, all things considered, cursing is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amazing double standards I've set for my children.
I put strict limits on their screen time.
Well, I start the morning scrolling through Twitter, suddenly coming to and realizing it's now dark outside.
I served them green beans for dinner, then hide in the bathroom eating mini Twix like it's my job.
What really matters is on the inside.
As I slather three different kinds of cream on my face every night and cry to my husband that I look like the crypt keeper every chance I get.
I teach them that kindness comes above all else, but then promptly honk and flip the bird to little old woman going 50 in the fast lane.
And I understand their frustration.
I come from a long line of parenting hypocrites.
I remember my sisters and I throwing a fit in the backseat because we had to wear seat belts while my dad didn't, though, looking back at the situation with four hormonally unbalanced female screaming in his ear, the seatbelt would have only prolong this misery once he found a concrete pillar to ram into and the mother of all double standards helping my mom make dinner one night while she gave me a lecture on the importance of waiting until marriage to go heels to Jesus with a boy.
Well, did you wait?
I asked every color answer.
What's to turn beet red and stir the spaghetti sauce with a sudden violent ferocity as she mumbled something about the seventies being a different time.
The reality is, as parents, we're all doing our very best to raise decent human beings.
Inherently, we understand the best way to do this is to set a living, breathing example.
Let our kids see us eating our brussel sprouts and smiling and waving to the neighbor while our dog takes enormous dump in our yard.
Unfortunately The best way is also the most difficult.
Even seemingly perfect parents are far from perfect in real life.
We curse, we drink, we hide behind toilets to eat fun sized candy bars.
We talk to our kids until we're blue in the face about the way things should be done.
But physically, we demonstrate that nobody's perfect.
The example we really set is to try your best and do what's right.
I know that deep down everybody else is too, which might be the best lesson of all.