By Jessie Williams

There’s a special bond between mothers and their daughters - a softness, an understanding, a lifetime of friendship.

 

And in honor of that special connection, Red Boiling Springs second grade teacher Leslie Goad, wanted to do something different this Mother's Day to show her mom, Lisa Holland, just how much their relationship means to her.

It all started when Leslie began looking for tickets for the taping of the Pickler & Ben television show in Nashville.

“When I got on the website there was a place to nominate an extraordinary mother,” Leslie said. “I knew it was the Mother’s Day episode, and I filled out the form about my mom and never dreamed they would pick us.”

In her letter to the show, Leslie talked about the rock her mother has been in her life during times of uncertainty and sadness. She spoke about how her father suddenly passed away the day after her son Easton was born and then, five months later, Easton got sick.

The diagnosis of a rare type of liver cancer rocked the Goad family and they spent much of their time at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and then Cincinnati at the Ronald McDonald House. 

During that time, Leslie says her mom would work her full time job as a registered nurse then either go home to take care of Easton’s older sister Emma, or drive to Vanderbilt Hospital to help with Easton. 

“She put her life on hold for us,” said Leslie. “We alternated sleep at the hospital. She had to be tired, but she never complained. She was always positive. The doctor said Easton would get his strength from me, and my strength came from my mama. She would tell me it would all be okay the entire time Easton was sick. She became everything to us, all on the heels of my dad’s unexpected death.”

When Leslie and her husband Jed traveled to Cincinnati with Easton, Lisa became Emma’s primary caregiver. And when little Easton passed away, Lisa was there to help Jed and Leslie in whatever way she could. 

“My mama is such a giving person,” Leslie said. “She has a genuine love for people and a kind heart. I thought she deserved some recognition for everything she’s done for us.”

Leslie got the phone call from producers that her letter was selected for the show and, since the show wanted to make it a surprise, she had to sneak around to take care of some of the details. 

The day of the taping, Lisa, Leslie, Emma and Lisa’s friend Benita Hudson arrived at the studio and took their seats in the audience.

“I remember someone said, ‘We are going to have a big surprise for one mom in the audience later’,” said Lisa. “And I thought, ‘Oh, how sweet’!”

When Lisa’s name was announced, she was in complete shock as she made her way down to the stage with Leslie. 

Lisa was then told about Leslie’s letter, and the tears began to roll as the sound of Leslie’s voice reading it filled the studio and a photo montage of their journey together played on a screen in the background. 

“I was crying and was in total shock.” Lisa said. “I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life. I’ve got the sweetest, most kind daughter that God has ever made. She’s been a true blessing to me her entire life. She’s an inspiration and the best friend I’ve ever had.”

Show producers also surprised Leslie and Lisa with a resort spa weekend in South Carolina. Of course they plan to bring 8-year-old Emma as well.

“My mom is very humble,” remarked Leslie. “She has always put herself last and doesn’t do a lot for herself. Her profession fits her perfectly - she’s a nurse through and through. Everyone thinks their mom is wonderful, but I think mine is the best.”

The Pickler & Ben episode featuring Leslie and Lisa airs at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 8, on channel 5.