The narrator, of Louise Erdrich's "The Leap," states that she owes her mother her life for three different reasons. According to the narrator, "the first is when she saved her life." During a trapeze act with her husband, the narrator's mother "managed to hang on to the braided metal" even after it was struck by lightening. Unbeknownst to her, she was pregnant. Her ability to twist, turn, and grab the pole insured the life of the mother (the unborn child did not survive).
The second instance where the narrator states she owes her life to her mother is when her father "found" her mother in the hospital. Her father taught her mother to read when tending to her as her doctor. It is the love which kindled between the doctor and the patient which brought about the birth of the narrator.
The third and final time the narrator owes her life to her mother is when she saved her from a fire. When the narrator was seven, their family home caught on fire. With the fire burning out of control, the narrator's mother saves her. She leaps into the air to grab onto the roof and save her daughter.