With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
Subscribe and Save up to 45%
For Mother’s Day we are sharing letters from our readers about the joys and hardships of mothers and motherhood. We hope they capture some of the ways maternal relationships — or the lack thereof — can challenge or fulfill us.
© Frank Hamrick
Correspondence: April 1994
“Garden Secrets” by Sarah Fazakerley [February 1994] was a jewel of insight. I nodded my head as I read her mum’s question, “Why does one come around to gardening in one’s thirties?” That’s exactly what happened to me, and now I can’t get enough of my perennials and wildflowers. Happiness is a morning spent in the petunia patch or weeding the vegetables. I cried with joy when my mom came to visit with a trunk full of shoots from her favorite perennials to transplant in my garden. My life was now complete! And I suspect that hers was, too.
Ste. Anne, Manitoba
© Lloyd Wolf
Correspondence: May 2016
I agree with David Lancy’s views on parenting [“The Kids Are All Right,” interview by Mark Leviton, February 2016]. I don’t recall my parents ever playing with me or my siblings. It never occurred to me to ask them to. If the weather was bad, my friends and I were told to play in the basement. If it was nice, we weren’t allowed inside but had the entire neighborhood in which to play. My mother was too busy with housework to have us in her way.
I remember calling to her from outside (because we wouldn’t think of just walking into the house without permission):
Me: Mom, we want to come in.
Me: Because we’re thirsty.
Mom: Drink from the hose.
Can you imagine a mother saying that to her child today?
© Holly Christiansen
Correspondence: July 2018
I read Laura Freudig’s story “Mother and Child” [April 2018] while nursing my three-week-old daughter at two in the morning. I was in pain from having had a C-section, exhausted from nearly constant breast-feeding, and emotionally raw from hormonal changes. Being a new mom has challenged me in more ways than I ever imagined. Freudig’s story is one of the few that dares to tell the truth about just how difficult motherhood can be.
My daughter is almost two months old now, and I bask in the smiles and coos she is beginning to share with me, but the days can still be long and hard in the most mundane ways. I appreciate that Freudig’s story conveys the more painful facets of the love between mother and child.
Asheville, North Carolina
© Rachel J. Elliott
Correspondence: April 2019
Twenty-two years ago I had an experience similar to the one Brian Doyle describes in his essay “Let It Go” [Dog-Eared Page, January 2019]. I was a single mother working ten-hour days who had just given birth to a son. The baby was not sleeping well, and I was “at the very end of my rope,” as Doyle describes.
I was trying to rest one day when I heard a voice say, “Helen, this is Mary.” At first I was startled. But the voice continued to talk to me in soothing words, the gist of which was that everything was going to be all right.
I am not Catholic or even religious. And I have not told many people of my experience for fear of being judged. But it did happen. I wish Doyle were alive so I could talk to him.
Reach these featured selections by clicking the titles below.
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Mother and Child”
“Let It Go”