We deserve to be sent to bed with no decaf. Or get a major timeout in Dennis Rodman's corner. Or have our TV privileges taken away (except when Marge Simpson--or any other classic TV mom--is on).
What were we thinking when we limited readers to 50 words in describing the World's Greatest Mom?
OK, OK, we apologize to the more than 500 readers who responded to our request for submissions on the World's Greatest Mom. Most wrote that it would be impossible to describe their mother within such constraints. Instead, people sent pages. And pages. From places including Tokyo and jail. From newborns (written with the help of dads) to 80-year-olds.
We heard about moms who dress like clowns, moms who build pirate ships, moms who are angels in heaven. Some nominated their sisters or grandmothers or friends.
Each was certain that her or his mom was the best; the most common reason cited was their mother's "unconditional love." Maybe they didn't always use those words, but that was the upshot in a letter from Rebecca in Alhambra, who left no last name:
"My grandmother bought me Froot Loops when we couldn't afford meat," she wrote, "because she understood that I was 10."
Here's a sampling of other submissions:
* My mother, Helen, is always thinking about my brother and me. She also gives us many activities
after school and our homework. She lets me go to Chinese school and even teaches me later! She's the best mother ever!
Alanna Denton, 6,
* We're only allowed 50 words, and Dennis Rodman regularly commands 1,000 or more? My mom is everything Dennis Rodman is not. Consistent in manner and hair color, friendly, caring, warm, no tattoos (Mom, please verify), and, finally, she loves me. I don't think I can say that of Dennis.
Ken Berry, Laguna Niguel
* My mom makes sandwiches when I am thirsty, when I am hungry and when it is windy.
Jeremiah, 6, Northridge
* I'm home--going through her life's possessions.
I must choose what I want to keep.
I sob and whisper, "I want to keep it all. I want my Mama."
35 pounds she was last February.
"How are you, Mama?"
"Pretty good. Be better tomorrow."
Never a complaint.
Roberta Peighton, Bel Air
* God made a mother with a smile of sunshine, her heart pure of gold and her eyes as bright as the stars above. She has beauty and grace and bursts with pride. I am truly grateful God made a wonder mother and gave that mother to me.
Pamela Sheffer, La Habra
* My mother is the proud mother of six girls. She immigrated to the United States so that her family would have a better life than she did. She has given us the opportunity to make our dreams come true. Her courage, strength, love and forgiving heart are what make her in my eyes the most wonderful mother. I hope that one day I can be the woman she is. Thank you, Mami, for giving me the wings to fly.
* I will forever remember Mom's loving care. Mom spent 48 hours at the hospital so my newborn daughter never left my sight and my husband got much-needed rest. When we came home, she stayed for a week. She was up every two hours while I nursed. It was grueling, but she never complained and did it all out of love.
Shannon Schell, Tustin
about Glenna "Nana" Carver,
who is pictured snuggling
Schell on E1.
* My mom has great ideas. Once we made barrettes out of Cheetos. On April Fool's Day, we sewed up the fly on Daddy's boxers. Another time, we ate dinner in the bathtub! She says life's too short, so you should have fun! I love her so much!
Caroline, 7, Los Angeles
* My mother's love is like a blooming garden of flowers. She expresses her love by chauffeuring my sister and me everywhere, and to a nice home-cooked meal. She puts her family before herself, making sure we have everything for school, church and ballet. I love you!
Joanne, 15, Anaheim
* She has a reputation of being a great mother. She is courageous enough to clean my room. She should be a contestant to be one of the most intelligent people on earth. She even has the same first name as our student teacher. She is the greatest mom on our Earth.
Steve, 12, Fullerton
* Mom is the greatest! She loves each of her three daughters 100%. She sees in each child unique and wonderful qualities. Because we all feel so special in her eyes, our sibling relationships have always been ones of respect, love and trust--best friends forever. Thanks Mom!
Ellen Lee Rose, Laguna Hills
* My mother, I cannot live without her. Sometimes I get mad because I do not get what I want. However, I realize that it is just discipline and you have to roll with the punches. She is wonderful. She is smart, elegant and funny. I love her!
Sadia, 13 1/2, Fountain Valley
* Last year, I watched [Mom] hover over my father during a long critical illness, [before] the sudden illness and eventual death of my husband, David. . . . One day, she said . . .: "I wish Dad and I could trade places with David. We had our golden years. Yours are just beginning."
Linda J. Church, Fullerton