Excerpt: 'Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom'

Just remember, despite all the juggling, the tricky balancing act, and the just plain hard work, I decided to have a second round of children. In looking for a new mate I made sure I found a man who loved children and wanted a family. My husband Jeff is ten years younger than me and we have our four young children, so I am back at school sitting at little tables making gingerbread houses, I am buying and sorting clothes every six months for growing bodies, I am wiping noses and tears, and I am reading silly stories. I love the sound of little feet running down the hall in the morning, coming in to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy. I can't think of anything more fascinating than watching little children grow and learn and become people.

I'm often asked if it isn't exhausting "at my age." I remember having a party when the second set of twins was born. My type-A girlfriends, most of whom had high-powered jobs, walked in and said "Oh my gosh, I'm tired just looking at them all." But the French caterers who had come in earlier looked at the same scene and said, "Oh my, you will never grow old." Two sets of eyes looking at the same thing -- the first set saw it as exhilarating, and the second set saw it as exhausting. My mom taught me to look at life with the first set of eyes, to choose to approach every situation with a smile and a positive attitude. She taught me to never set limits for myself and that nothing is impossible. I love every moment of my life as a mother of seven, a wife, a daughter, and a working woman, and I thank my mom every day for that positive attitude.

~Joan Lunden

Chapter 1 What My Mother Gave Me Before She Died

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb

She's the kind of woman who would say, "Ucch, what a depressing funeral." And so the obvious thing to say is that I want to celebrate my mom. But what I really want to do is share my mom. Not the person who was here the past few months, but the woman who was here the past sixty-three years.

My mother fought to have me. She tried for three years to get pregnant. And I think that struggle always left her feeling thankful for what she had. It is, to this moment, the only rational way to explain the never-ending love she gave to me.

As I entered grade school, my father, who breathes baseball, signed me up for Little League. I lasted one year. But it wasn't until a few months ago that I finally found out just who saved me from year two. Stewie, don't make him play if he doesn't want to play. Even back then, she knew me. And for all of childhood, she nurtured me, growing my little artsy side and always making sure that I could find my own adventure. And she fed it with one of the greatest seeds of imagination: Television.

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