Parenthood Stories Archives - StoryCorps

Transcending Blindness, a Marathon Runner Thanks His Daughter for Her Support

Jason Romero suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes progressive blindness. In 2015, he was forced to stop driving and quit his job, which plunged him into a deep depression. But Jason was most concerned about how it would impact his family.

“The most important thing to me is to be a good dad to you and your brother and your sister, and I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to do it if I couldn’t see,” he said.

Jason Romero and his youngest daughter, Sofia Romero, in San Diego, California in August 2022. Courtesy Jason Romero.

Jason turned to running as a way to prove that he could push his body past what people thought possible. After becoming an ultramarathon runner, he had the seemingly crazy idea of being the first blind person to run across the United States. So he hit the road.

Jason Romero in his 2016 run across the United States. Courtesy Jason Romero.

In 2016, he set off on a 3,063 mile, 59 day run from Los Angeles to New York City. But while he was away, he thought about his family – especially his youngest daughter, Sofia.

Top Photo: Sofia Romero and Jason Romero in Denver, Colorado on January 4, 2023. By Esther Honig for StoryCorps.

Originally aired January 6, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

10 Years After Sandy Hook: Remembering Jesse Lewis

On the morning of December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty six people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty of them were between the ages of 6 and 7.

Six-year-old Jesse Lewis was among those killed.

Jesse Lewis posing for his mom, Scarlett Lewis, on the morning of December 14, 2012. He stands in front of Scarlett’s car, on which he’d written, ‘I love you’ and drawn hearts in the frost. Photo courtesy of Scarlett Lewis.

His mother Scarlett Lewis has spent the subsequent ten years founding and leading the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, dedicated to creating safer and more loving communities.

She and her mother Maureen came to StoryCorps to share their memories of Jesse and the importance of gratitude.

Maureen Lewis (left) and Scarlett Lewis at their StoryCorps interview in Sandy Hook, Connecticut on November 27, 2022. By Halle Hewitt for StoryCorps.

 

Top Photo: Jesse Lewis posing for his first grade school photo at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Fall, 2012. Photo courtesy of Scarlett Lewis.

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“It’s hard all the time.”: A Decade of Agony Since Sandy Hook Shooting

On December 14, 2012, a shooter opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six educators. Avielle was one of the children murdered that day. She was six years old at the time.

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Jeremy and Jennifer sat down for StoryCorps in 2017 to remember Avielle.

After Avielle’s death, Jeremy and Jennifer had two more children, Imogen and Owen. They also started The Avielle Foundation, a neuroscience non-profit that conducts brain research in order to understand the underpinnings of violence and how to build compassion.

Bottom photo: Jeremy and Jennifer with their daughter, Avielle, at her kindergarten graduation in 2012. Courtesy of Jeremy Richman.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help at 1-800-273-8255.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Originally aired on December 09, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.

Donate

“You are going your own way”: A Father and Daughter Reflect On Leaving the Nest

When Sylvia Grosvold was 16 years old she came to StoryCorps with her father, Josh Weiner. They remembered her mother, Kari Grosvold, who had died by suicide when Sylvia was five years old. 

Josh Weiner, Kari Grosvold and Sylvia Grosvold, age 4, in 2008. Courtesy of Josh Weiner.

Over the years, Josh and Sylvia have relied on each other more than your average father/daughter duo. Two years after their first conversation, Sylvia and Josh returned to StoryCorps ahead of Sylvia’s move from the family’s home in Portland, Oregon to begin her freshman year at Ithaca College. As Sylvia prepared for her big move, Josh reflects on living alone for the first time in his life.

They talked about the closeness they share, their hopes and fears for the future, and Josh’s sudden journey to single parenthood.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help at 1-800-273-8255.

The 2019 interview was recorded through The Dougy Center  for grieving children. It is part of Road to Resilience, a project with StoryCorps in partnership with the New York Life Foundation which leverages the power of stories and storytelling to help children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one. 

Top Photo: Sylvia Grosvold and Josh Weiner at their StoryCorps interview in Portland Oregon on July 9, 2021. Courtesy of Josh Weiner.

Originally aired August 27, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Military Mother Remembers Her Son Who Died By Suicide

Army Specialist Robert Joseph Allen grew up in a military family, and followed the family tradition when he enlisted during his early 20s. He served for three years, including a deployment to Iraq with the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

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After returning stateside, he lived with his wife and their two sons while stationed in Washington. Two years later — on August 2, 2012 — he died by suicide. That year saw the highest rate of active-duty military suicides ever recorded — more soldiers died from suicide than combat.

His mother, Cathy Sprigg, sat down with StoryCorps in Tampa, Florida to remember him.

Top photo: Cathy Sprigg with her son, Army Specialist Robert Joseph Allen, at Tampa International Airport in 2010. Allen was headed back to Iraq  after being on leave for the birth of his son. Courtesy of Cathy Sprigg.
Bottom photo: Cathy Sprigg and her son, Army Specialist Robert Joseph Allen, dancing at his wedding in 2009. Courtesy of Cathy Sprigg.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or just needs someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Originally aired May 26, 2018, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. It was rebroadcast on May 28, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“This is Ours Too”: A Father Instills a Sense of Belonging in His Daughter

When Erin Haggerty was just a teen, her father George Barlow moved the family from Union City, California to the stark, white landscapes of Iowa. At the time, Erin was excited by the prospect of moving to a new place. But she soon realized that, as one of the only Black teens in her community, life would not always be so picturesque.

Photo: (L) George embracing (R) Erin at her high school graduation in 1991. Courtesy of Erin Haggerty.

Erin spent years trying to find her sense of belonging in this new town. But overtime, she began to withdraw into herself. Her father George had always assumed Erin was just a shy teen; someone who kept to herself, was well behaved, and had no interest in high school parties. 

But in August of 2020, Erin opened up to George for the first time about what it was like being a young Black woman in Iowa, and how it was his words and kindness that saw her through those difficult times.

Top Photo: (L) Erin Haggerty and her father (R) George Barlow in 2010. Courtesy of Erin Haggerty.
Bottom Photo: Three year old (L) Erin with her father (R) George in 1975. Courtesy of Erin Haggerty.

Originally aired September 18, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“Sometimes It Doesn’t Feel So Good And You Just Keep Stepping”: A Father Teaches His Daughter To Be Bold And Embrace The Unexpected

Kevin Craw has always encouraged his children to embrace the unexpected. 

Especially his daughter, Kate, who grew up with a love for singing. As a teenager, she starred in several high school musicals.

But she was also interested in singing the blues. One night, Kate’s father took her to see his friend’s band play at a local bar.

At StoryCorps, they sat down to remember what happened next.

Top Photo: Kate Quarfordt and Kevin Craw at their StoryCorps interview in New York, NY on January 10, 2020. By Nicolas Cadena for StoryCorps.
Middle Photo: Kate Quarfordt in her high school production of Brigadoon in Wilton, CT in 1992. Courtesy of Kate Quarfordt.

Originally aired February 7, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

A Father, His Daughter, and the Choice to Start a Family as “an Act of Hope”

Jessica Kibblewhite grew up the daughter of an astronomer, Edward Kibblewhite. Among his inventions: a system that allows scientists to take clearer pictures of stars.

When Jessica and her husband were having a hard time deciding whether to have a child, she brought her dad to StoryCorps in Chicago to ask him for advice. Essentially, she hoped he might help her do the same thing his invention does: see more clearly.

Top photo: Edward Kibblewhite and Jessica Kibblewhite at their StoryCorps interview in Chicago, IL on October 27, 2018. By Rocio Santos for StoryCorps.

Originally aired December 13th 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

After Giving Up Baby, Reunion Sparks Second Chance at Motherhood

Janie Bush was just 19 years old in 1968 when she discovered she was expecting a child. 

After careful consideration, she decided to give her daughter up for adoption. 

In 2014, Janie came to StoryCorps in Dallas, Texas with her daughter, Tracey Bush, to talk about what happened next.

Top photo: Janie and Tracey Bush at their StoryCorps interview in Dallas, TX on December 8, 2014. By Callie Thuma for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: The first photo taken of Janie and Tracey Bush, when they reconnected on Janie’s porch when Tracey was 12 years old. Courtesy of Janie Bush.

Originally aired on November 8, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Man Recalls Being Shot by a White Supremacist at Jewish Day Camp

On the morning of August 10, 1999, a white supremacist opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon at a Jewish day camp in Los Angeles. Five were wounded, including six-year-old Josh Stepakoff, who was shot in his leg and hip, and one person was killed.

Now an adult, Josh sat down with his father, Alan, to remember that day.

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The shooter is serving two consecutive life sentences plus 110 years for multiple convictions. His actions were ruled a federal hate crime.

This story aired November 2, 2018 on NPR’s Morning Edition. A version also aired November 10, 2017 on the same program.

Bottom image: Josh and his father, Alan, in Washington D.C. for the Million Mom March rally in May 2000, the year after Josh was shot.