We play excerpts from the documentary film Troop 1500. In the film, girl scouts from an Austin, Texas, troop visit their mothers, all of whom are in prison.
When Gene Cheek was ten years old, his mother began dating a black man. It was 1961, in North Carolina.
Karen Sosnoski's one-year-old son, Anton, was born with what's known as Mosaic Down Syndrome, a rare condition where some of his cells have the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome and other cells don't. So as he grows, he could end up having all the health risks and challenges of Downs syndrome...or just a few of them. Through a website, Karen found a kid with the same diagnosis, named Tim Colvin, who was doing really well...perhaps because his mother, Kristy, invented a surprising and unusual way to raise her son.
When Elspeth was a girl, she wanted nothing more than her father's attention. He was busy, a doctor, and distant.
Nick Hornby's new story about a country so tiny, it's just a field, a few houses, a shop, and a café. There, a boy whose mom happens to be president of this minuscule nation is called upon to show his patriotism by playing on the national soccer team.
David Wilcox tells the story of how his mother, who was dying of lung cancer, made a short videotape for his sister, who is severely developmentally disabled. She hoped the tape would become a daily part of her daughter's life, like the other music and movies she liked to play, that she would watch it and remember her mother.
Writer Beth Lisick decides to try a new strategy to get her infant to sleep better, and buys a baby monitor as part of the deal. Soon, she's hearing her neighbors make drug deals over the monitor's frequency.
When Aimee Phan and her brother were babies, her mother had horoscopes predicting their futures made and put on tape. The tapes were in Vietnamese, which Aimee and her brother didn't understand.
Starlee Kine gets answers about her parents marriage from her dad...after a lifetime of mystery. She and her sister had wanted her parents to divorce since they were little.
Host Ira Glass talks about trying to figure out what to say to his dying mom. He's sure that someday he'll wish he said something different than what he actually said.
Ian Brown tries, after decades of failure, to give his mother the perfect Christmas gift. He and his brother attempt something they haven't done since they were kids: Rehearse and sing her a program of Christmas carols.
A Houston woman tries to document every day of her four-year-old daughter's life...in preparation for a day far away. Produced by Julie Checkoway and Kimberly Meyer of Story Rodeo.
Jen's mom Sheila does things like this: She buys a brand name at a discount store, and then returns it to a fancy store for a full refund. She thinks you're a sucker if you don't take advantage of opportunities like that.
Writer Heather O'Neill tells the story of how she became a foster mother at 18—to a 16 year-old.
Novelist Miriam Toews, author of The X Letters (which appeared in an earlier episode of the show), tells the story of a road trip she took with her 15-year-old son.
The story of what happens to an average American family, when a perfectly normal, rational and funny mom starts spending every day in the company of an ancient Buddhist monk named Aaron, who no one else can see. Davy Rothbart is one of her three sons, and also the reporter for this story.
The chronicle of a family that unravelled. Debra Gwartney loved her two oldest daughters like she loved herself.
We hear from a mother and her son. By age seven, he'd had heart failure and been diagnosed as bipolar.
Producer Jonathan Goldstein with a story about friendship, mothers and sons, and what some have called the greatest phone message in the world—it circulated at Columbia University in New York City, and had something to do with the Little Mermaid.
The story about what happens when you discover the medical reason your mother was such a bad parent all your life.
Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters—Elise and Mathilde—at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from her book The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain their lives and their deaths to a friend, in a series of letters.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.
Host Ira Glass talks with Cate, a white woman with a black, adopted, seven-year-old son, Glen. Sometimes Glen threatens that he's going to return to his real family—royalty, in Africa.
We hear a series of letters that originally appeared on the brief-lived, little-known, but well-loved webzine Open Letters. They're written by a woman who signs her name as "X" and are addressed to the father of her adolescent son.