Every mother has secrets. Some are dark — a deeply buried history of domestic violence or mental illness. But some are light — generations of wisdom on everything from gardening to cooking.
My mother died before I was fifteen. As a “liberated woman,” she turned her back on domestic wisdom. She had no helpful hints to give me regarding makeup, stain removal, cleaning, sewing, or baking. She was, in fact, terrible at all those things. She had a hell of a green thumb with houseplants. Our neighbors exclaimed over all the hanging baskets of greenery in our D.C. dining room. At the time, I shoved errant leaves out of my hair and glowered. Now I wish I’d asked how she did it. Continue reading Lost & Found: Mom Edition (#221)
My mother loved being pregnant. When I was 10 and she was pregnant with Baby Brother, she gave up alcohol and cigarettes without complaint. Same thing when I was 11 and she had Baby Singing Sister. She rarely threw up and was always cheerful.
Finding out I was pregnant was anticlimactic. Because here’s the rule: you can’t tell anyone until you know it’s a viable pregnancy.
Actually, you can tell people, sure, but since 1 out of every 3 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, you run the risk of having to un-tell them later. Possibly while sobbing incoherently.
So I was stuck in this no-man’s-land of being pregnant – maybe – for two weeks while I waited for my obstetrician to officially confirm that a) my pregnancy tests weren’t liars and b) the embryo had a heartbeat. Continue reading Not Your Ordinary Magic Wand (#217)
Growing up amidst divorce, minimal resources, and tragedy, I learned not to be optimistic. I was always awaiting the next crisis. If my husband didn’t answer his phone, I was certain he’d been in a fatal car wreck. I sniffled as I planned that man’s funeral at least weekly.
I had headaches most of my childhood. Maybe it was my poor eyesight. Maybe it was bad nutrition. Maybe it was the stress of divorces, remarrying parents, and more siblings. I tried all the drugs in various parents’ medicine cabinets, to no avail. I learned to power through head-pounding misery.
I worked as a cashier in high school. An assistant manager noticed one night that I was more sullen than usual. She asked if I was okay. I explained that I had a headache.
She said, “I have something that will fix that right up.”
You may have noticed some outrage on my page these days. And those are only the public messages, not the private ones. Some people are seriously pissed at me for writing posts that do not laud childbearing.
To which I say, why? Why is it so important that we revere pregnancy and procreation?