How It All Began…
“I’m calling us ART – and our children and our stories, the way we word them. The rests we take, the line-breaks. The images we snap with our phones and the ones we hold as the centerpieces for our minds. The scenes that reel. The way food lands on the plate.” – Amber Haines, Mother Letters Curator
Amber and Seth met at a small university in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. They quickly fell in love and were married a short time later. After five years of marriage, and settling in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Amber and Seth began the process of starting a family.
Three years and three boys later (before their 4th boy was born), Seth watched Amber struggle through the complexities of mothering—those difficult days spent feeding, cleaning, and disciplining. He watched as Amber fell into bed night after night asking “Am I doing this right?” or “Am I good enough?”
“Just in case you don’t know, or never heard, or haven’t yet believed it, I want you to know: We are all broken. I am. You are. We all are. Only God is perfect.” — Mother Letters
After a brief trip to an impoverished part of the world in 2008, Amber and Seth decided to create Christmas presents for each other instead of purchasing them. Seeing Amber’s need for encouragement in her mothering journey, Seth decided that he would compile a collection of letters for Amber’s Christmas present.
“I know that this is what it’s all about. This messy house. This day. This moment.” — Mother Letters
The letters were to be written by mothers, and were designed to share stories, encouragement, or wisdom with other mothers. And though he knew that Amber would love this kind of collection, Seth was not prepared for what would happen next.
“Mothering, in my opinion, is an art, and it takes a while to get it. One of those live and learn deals.” — Mother Letters
A friend asked if she could promote the collection on her blog, and Seth agreed.
The rest is history. Over the next two months, letters poured in. Each letter represented a particular narrative, a different story. Some stories were joyful—the happiness of new life, the beauty in raising a child to maturity. Some stories were laden with grief—young children lost, older children estranged. But no matter the narrative, each letter conveyed encouragement, hope, and solidarity.
Each story left the resounding impression—we all share the mess and glory of motherhood.
The collection was such an encouragement to Amber and those whom submitted their own Mother Letters, that we have now brought a part of that collection to you with Mother Letters. It is our hope that you find as much encouragement in the pages as others have.
“I make what my heart desires. Take the turquoise and the gold, the yarn, the word ‘ravel’ – I twist them until I can stand back and see more than I had before. Isn’t that what art is? Making more of things? What art do you make? Mother, what art do you curate?” – Amber Haines, Mother Letters Curator