‘I’m so sorry. My wife died in a car accident. She wanted to hang out with you guys.’ He had tears in his eyes as he grabbed his daughter’s hand.’: Mom ‘forever changed’ by chance encounter with stranger, ‘You never know what someone is going through’

“I had lunch at Sam’s Club with my twins. A little girl with blonde hair ran up and sat next to us. I looked around for the mom. Didn’t see anyone. ‘This is so odd. If the mom doesn’t come over soon, I’ll have to get an employee.’ I’m searching all the women at the food court. Dad finally walks up. ‘Hey, thanks for letting her sit here.’ I smiled. ‘No problem at all!’ When it was time to go, we walked towards the door. She followed us. I got a little uneasy. Is she scared of him? Then he approached us.”

‘I gasped for breath. ‘I…read…your texts!’ I could barely get the words out. I was hyperventilating.’: Women re-discovers herself after husband’s affair and ensuing divorce

“I saw the pictures and read the words, but my brain couldn’t understand. My arms were tingling. Alarm bells were ringing in my head. ‘What? Why was this woman, his assistant, texting this to him?’ I slumped to the bathroom floor, then shakily stood and made my way down the stairs, using the handrail to prop me up.”

‘No, no, no.’ I was emptying the pockets in his jeans to wash them. I felt something small, cold. I knew what it was immediately. ‘How could he?’: Single mom learns of partner’s drug addiction while pregnant, ‘I begged him to love our baby’

“He began disappearing for days. He had no care at all about my pregnancy. I knew something was going on. Little did I know, I’d get the shock of my life. I was excited he agreed to come home for dinner. As I was emptying the pockets in his jeans for laundry, I knew what it was immediately. A glass container used to store drugs. ‘How could he?’ I thought. I sat there crying, holding so tightly to my baby bump, telling her not to worry, I would fix her dad before she got here.”

‘No, no, don’t sit next to him darling, move away.’ This sentence cuts like a knife. It shatters my heart into a million pieces.’: Mom of autistic son wishes no other parent to ‘experience this ignorance’

“We were just waiting to see Santa. I will never forget that room, it was so beautiful. All done up with snowmen, lovely lights, Christmas Music playing. It was sensory heaven for my little boy. I will never forget that woman. I will never forget the way she looked at my little boy. The way she stared. The look of disgust on her face.”

‘My 16-year-old was upset over a fight with a friend. When I really listened, it turns out this friend has been making her feel ‘less than’ for months.’: One mom’s approach to ‘listening’ vs. ‘action’ conversations helped relationship with teens

“What I’ve learned after trying it for a couple of months is that it’s much harder for me to shut up and not shove my opinion down their throats or try to solve their problems for them than I thought. I figured they’d be the ones unable to play by the ground rules, but it was a big lesson for me as well.”

‘Donald, will you wash my hair?’ I sunk into the tub, defeated. He heard my desperate plea through the bathroom door.’: Woman urges ‘ask your spouses for help’ after husband’s act of kindness

“You know those kinds of days where everything that can go wrong does? Yesterday was that day. I’d gotten no sleep before the littles began stirring. The rest of the day was a blur of school lessons, cleaning, runs to multiple stores for ONE thing. Supper was a complete FAIL. I needed to wash my hair because, let’s face it, one can only use dry shampoo for so long, but I hadn’t any energy to muster for that daunting task. Then a thought silently crept across my mind: ‘Ask Donald.’ I had to lay my pride aside.”

‘I’m sorry!!!’ I know you are. ‘Daddy is going to be so mad!!! I’m not ready to tell him yet.’ That is OK. When you’re ready, you’ll tell him.’: Mom’s viral post strikes debate on how to punish kids

“Our girls were messing around. One of them put their body through the drywall. My 9-year-old came downstairs crying and frantic saying she had to show me something. I walked upstairs to the damaged wall. The remorse was already displayed all over her body. She didn’t need me to make her feel guilty. She didn’t need me to shame her.”

‘My car was stolen, along with my purse. Then I talked with my doctor about some scary reconstruction surgeries. Breast cancer isn’t quite done with me.’: Mom explains why she is ‘dog tired’ and giving herself ‘new beginnings’

“If one more kid gets out of bed for so much as a SNIFF of water, I’m going to pull my freakin hair out. That child might end up on the front porch wearing a ‘for sale’ sign. I just can’t anymore. I needed space. I needed something to belong to ME.”

‘Somewhere along the line I wanted to stop being intimate, yet, he never complained. He waited patiently for me to return.’: Wife details her ‘miraculous marriage’ in response to viral post honoring husband before writer’s death

“When I wanted to quit my job he said sure. Stay home with your kids? Girls nights out? Breaks from your babies laying bra-less in bed for far too long? He’ll provide for it all. Magic like this man doesn’t happen very often. So, try to capture some of it. Stand in his presence—and enjoy what it feels like to be free. To be fully seen and loved anyhow.”

‘It’s okay, Chris,’ my mother said to him. ‘I’m here.’ My father was groaning in immense pain. Tears fell onto my jeans.’: Woman finds true meaning of marriage during father’s battle with cancer

“As I leaned toward the mirror, slipping mascara onto my lashes, I heard more grumbling. I froze. I was stuck in their moment with no place to go. ‘I’m so sorry,’ my father said. I sat on my bed, the door cracked open. I was a self-absorbed, twenty-something at the time, bouncing back and forth between two men like a rubber ball. But this moment struck me. Tears fell onto my jeans because I finally realized something—THIS is marriage.”

‘They weren’t just born to rock the boat, they were born to build a new one. Strong-willed kids are a lot, but the world needs them.’: Mom to ‘tiny torpedo’ says strong-willed kids ‘will always be worth the struggle’

“Their voice ricochets off walls and it’s surprising glass doesn’t shatter. If you take out their batteries, they STILL RUN WILDLY. They were born with an opinion—about everything. We question. We doubt. We feel guilty. The stress-filled knots in our shoulders grow tighter each day. And worse, WE THINK WE’RE FAILING.”

‘I am confident you have the deadliest form of skin cancer.’ I burnt regularly. I remember peeling off dead skin.’: Woman survives both skin and breast cancer, has learned to always ‘trust your gut’ when it comes to your health

“I was lying on a sun lounger (in the shade of course) and I suddenly got an overwhelming, unexplainable gut feeling I needed a mammogram. I didn’t have any lumps, but my gut was screaming it was the right thing to do. I had so many unanswered questions. ‘Am I dying? How long do I have left to live? Will I be here to see my children grow up?’ I was so vulnerable and weak and didn’t know whether I had the strength to climb the mountain which now seemed to be looming in front of me.”

‘I don’t want this life. I’m not cut out for this!’ I heard ‘I’m sorry’ on the other end. Adrenaline began, my face got hot. Then the tears started to roll.’: Boy with down syndrome diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

“Oliver was on vacation with his dad when I got the call. ‘He stopped walking.’ Weeks pass. His lymph nodes are swollen. Something just wasn’t right. I remember telling my boss, ‘I have to leave!’ Before I could even get a response, I was gone. I’m worried the ER doctor missed something. The doctor is quiet. I can see in her eyes she is trying to stay calm for me, but something is there. I scream. Deep down, she knows something I don’t.”

‘No Jack! No doctor!’ I hold him tightly, feel his heart beating. It is heart breaking. I question why I put him through what feels like torture.’: Mom thankful for affectionate siblings who help calm autistic brother, ‘It just melted my heart’

“I have had to physically put myself between our boy and the floor so he doesn’t hurt himself by banging his head in frustration. It is heart breaking. I make sure to bring Jack to all of his siblings’ visits as well. WHY?! These rare moments. ‘Oh Jack, I’m not hurt. Give me a hug!’ She assured her anxious brother. ‘See Jack, Maddie is okay.’ Olivia whispered into his hear. It quickly became a sister sandwich. How beautiful is that?”

‘You’re going to do exactly what I tell you.’ He grabbed my throat. The devil was staring me in the face. Fear washed over my body.’: Young woman survives sexual assault in woods, ‘I refuse to hide. I need others to know they aren’t alone’

“A boat was pulling up, and two guys were inside. They said, ‘Who is this?’ I was confused. He was locking up his truck and his friends told him to hurry the hell up. He responded, ‘Hey at least I brought you guys some tail.’ My stomach sank, my heart started to race. I had recently been told I overreact…was this just an overreaction to a dumb joke? I went in the tent to grab a shirt because I was freezing. He followed me in and starting kissing me. My ‘no’ didn’t matter. I burst into tears. He looked at me with disgust. ‘I don’t like your attitude.’”

‘A stranger approached, startling me by placing her hand on my shoulder. ‘Can I do anything to help? Would you like me to buy you a coffee?’: Mom ‘surprised’ by young mother’s kind gesture, ‘I wasn’t as alone as I felt’

“Bloodcurdling screams. My daughter’s lungs could shatter glass. A grandma approached us. She wanted me to scoop up my inconsolable daughter and comfort her. I’ve done that before, but at this point, my daughter was too far gone. As much as this woman wanted to intervene and help, she didn’t know my daughter.”

‘Her father walked into my office, completely lost. His daughter was spiraling. She just needed someone to believe in her, so she could believe in herself.’: Police officer forms beautiful friendship with troubled teen, ‘I refused to give up on her’

“His daughter had started to drink and hang with the wrong crowd. She’d received her first official charge for destruction of property. He had no clue what to do with her. ‘I’ll meet with her.’ As she walked into my office, my whole life changed. She would come to challenge me, as I would challenge her. A bond would be formed that helped both of us become better people. I refused to give up on her. She was in need. She wanted to be better.”

‘Your dad thought he could hit me, but you will NEVER hit me. I’ll kill you first.’ She was a 400-pound woman. I was a 9-year-old child.’: Woman survives child abuse and PTSD, repairs relationship with abusers, ‘I was born a SURVIVOR’

“She had me by my pigtails. She cornered me into our closet using a man’s belt to spank me. A friend saw her, and told her if she ever hit me again, he’d tell his dad. Later my mom tried having me committed to a mental hospital. After a 24-hour sit in at the ER, a doctor came in. ‘There is nothing wrong with you, except the fact you need to get away from your mother.’ I wanted a mom who WANTED to be my mom.”

‘I was doing her laundry FOR her. She was watching me fold her thong underwear. She just stood there holding the baby! This is ridiculous.’: Mom urges others to remember helping means doing so with ‘no strings attached’

“I was sitting at a coffee shop and overheard (I was eavesdropping) two women behind me. One was complaining about her daughter-in-law who’d just given birth to her grandchild. ‘I offered to help, but this ridiculous!’ she said. Here’s the thing. I’ve learned if we really want to help, we just show up. We ring their doorbell and start unloading their dishwasher or play with their kid while they take a shower. We shove a lasagna in the oven so they don’t have to think about dinner.”

‘What if Matthew doesn’t come home this time?’ I watch him struggle to breathe. I gasp for air, screaming as my mother holds my shaking body.’: Sister advocates for brother battling Cystic Fibrosis, ‘I will stand beside him in this fight, forever’

“My tears soak the sleeve of her sweatshirt. A sharp, strong pain runs through my chest. For the past 19 years, I have watched him swallow hundreds of thousands of pills. ‘What if Matthew gets sicker? How much time does he have?’ I finally decided I was tired of watching. Life gave me the greatest gift of all: a brother. I will stand hand-in-hand beside him in this fight.”

‘Are you her nanny?’ ‘Did you kidnap her?’ I had a mom call me her Au Pair at gymnastics. We get stared down.’: Single black mom adopts 2 white siblings, is constantly judged by strangers but urges, ‘Love goes beyond skin color’

“When I tell them I’m her mom, they reply with, ‘Ohhhh. She must look like her dad then.’ In line at stores, I get stared down. I say out loud to Elizabeth, ‘Mommy loves you!’ And she replies, ‘I love you mommy.’ That makes the people so confused. You can see their brain cells burning with confusion. Whenever she misbehaves in public, people stare so hard to see how the ‘nanny’ is going to handle it. Sometimes I say, ‘You can stop looking. I’m her mother.’ Then, I was notified she had a brother. I thought my family was complete, but I was wrong.”

‘They were born like this. There is nothing we can do.’ They were tied to beds, drugged, covered in bruises. I couldn’t accept that answer.’: Woman helps dozens of abused, disabled children find loving homes, preaches ‘every child has value’

“I entered the orphanage. Hundreds of children were living there, but the halls were silent, expect the occasional wail or moan. I saw skeletal bodies, empty eyes, smelly diapers. I heard doctors calling them ‘disasters.’ One child had a sack of fluid coming from the back of her skull. It was her brain, and it was leaking fluid. Children were covered in cigarette burns. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I couldn’t look away. I knew I had to help.”

‘I would claim, ‘Oh yeah, I hurt myself. I’m wearing a hard brace until it heals.’ I never told my parents I wrote a suicide note.’: Woman known as the ‘girl with one arm’ hides prosthetic for 2 years, finally realizes, ‘they knew I was different, they didn’t care’

“I lived in a small town in the deep South. I was 15, the age where acne, boy problems, and all that fun stuff was going on. To make matters worse, I was born missing my left forearm. I wore my prosthetic to school for 2 entire years without removing it for gym class, soccer practice, nothing. For 2 whole years, that mind game would go on, leaving me feeling suicidal on my 17th birthday. I woke up feeling like I was done with living. It was a bright, sunny day. I sat in my room writing out all the reasons I didn’t want to be here on this planet. I broke down in tears. I knew I had to make a choice.”

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