It is an honor to pin this beautiful blue badge on my blog. It arrived attached to an email announcing that one of my essays now lives on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop website.

To celebrate, I took the subject of that essay to dinner. My youngest daughter Grace – bless her sweet, little, please don’t embarrass me heart – often provides writing prompts simply by being my child – as have her sister and two brothers. While they’re not especially fond of me sharing silly stories about them with their friends and dates, they’re all quite okay if I blast the same tales to the world, via newspapers, magazines and websites.

I like my new badge. It honors the memory of my mother who, up until her dying day in 2007, called me her little Erma Bombeck. Mom had been my biggest fan, whether I wrote about her grandchildren or her grand battle with cancer (and if you knew Mom, you would know what I mean). Even now Mom inspires my writing just as if my words are being tossed by a newspaper carrier to heaven’s front porch.

While Grace enjoyed our celebratory dinner of chicken strips and fish tacos, she asked that I please not share the news with her middle school teachers or the parents of her friends. It’s our secret, I promised, only to be known by the rest of the world who discovers it online. Shhh.

At the end of the week, as the essay moves down the page on the Bombeck website, a personal comment from one of its readers still remains at the top of my mind. It came from my oldest son, the first-ever subject of my foray into parenting essays. He sent me a note that pretty much sums up why I keep writing and submitting and hoping that one or two or hundreds of people are touched by my words.

Riles has loved motorcycles since he was a little boy, riding them and working on them. He is blessed and I am proud that he now earns a living as a motorcycle mechanic. Here is what he wrote: “In a weird way, reading your work makes me want to do better with mine. Yours with pen and paper, mine with wrenches and sockets.”

I won’t tell anyone, other than the world, that he told me that. But in the humble opinion of this mother-slash-writer, they are badge-worthy words and I’m pinning them on my heart. Forever.