Tag Archives: mother

Trying to Do the Impossible by Calvin Davis

How does one capture, in a couple of short paragraphs, the essence and life of a woman who lived to be a hundred years old? To encapsulate her core in five volumes, each as long as War and Peace, would be simple, but to do this task in a few short paragraphs was all but impossible.

Really, I tried this difficult task of writing a two-paragraph tribute for my mother for the local newspaper recently. If she had been a queen or a superstar, she would have made my job easier, but she wasn’t. She was a maid.

Here is what I wrote…

angel1

A MEMORIAL FOR A MAID
As if emerging from the shadows of a dream,
She descended into The City of Hills, Lynchburg.
Her employers called her “the maid.”
Her sons called her “Mother.”
God called her “Angelic,”
And on November 16, 2004,
He called His angel home.
———-
Residing in His Divine Palace,
Mrs. Oleatha White Davis, “the maid,” scrubs no more,
Cooks no more, vacuums no more.
Now enshrined in the Heavenly Hall of Holies,
She is never again labeled “the maid,”
But is now known by her rightful title: “Saint.”
——————————-
A tribute from the sons of The Angelic Maid, Willis and Calvin Davis.
Though she had no college degree, “the maid” taught them that the greatest of earthly
Powers is neither a bomb nor an army, but love…simple, unadorned, and true.
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This post is dedicated to… by Sheila Deeth

On the fourth Sunday in Lent, English Christians like my Mum celebrate Mothering Sunday. They’ve done so since the 1600s, so my Mum’s not entirely crazy when she tells me it’s the right, historical date (and accept no substitutions). But the fourth Sunday of Lent is pretty unlikely to fall near the second in May. And there you have my problem. In the US, stores will be full of Easter baskets and bunnies, not Mothers’ Day cards, just at that vital point in the year when I’m meant to remember something. As a result, there’s always a Sunday in spring when our regular, every-week, phone-call starts with “Hello Mum,” “Hello Sheila. Have you remembered what day it is?” “Ummm. No-o-o?” “That’s all right. I didn’t get a card from your brother either.”

The card from my brother will usually arrive at Mum’s doorstep three days late, due to the fact that he shares my procrastinatorly skills and struggles to get to the post office. The card from me… Well, if I send it in May it will get there so late Mum would view it more as insult than as thanks. What on earth’s an expatriate daughter to do?

So here, three days late for an American Mother’s Day, is my belated Mothering Sunday post, dedicated to my Mum.

I didn’t know you when

you pushed me to try harder

as if I could fly.

I didn’t know you then,

but I tried my best

and flew away.

I’ll never know who you were

but I know who you are;

my flight instructor,

shining star,

and the very best Mum in the world

for this little girl.

So… thank you Mum… and sorry I’m so late, again!

With love to Mum on Mother's Day

A picture of me and my mum

Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero, Infinite Sum and Imaginary Numbers, all coming soon from Second Wind Publishing. She grew up in England and moved to the States with her husband and sons, more years ago than she cares to remember.

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A Good Mother

I have a friend young enough to be my daughter, and when she tells me her troubles, I only want to be helpful. She was trying to decide what to do about a man when I, along with another friend my age, dealt her a hand of “do this” and “don’t do that unless” cards, like moms.

“I get it,” she said. “You guys never had kids of your own, so you have to mother somebody.”

Wow. True. But . . . wow.

We middle-agers shot each other guilty looks. We had good intentions, gave what we thought to be solid suggestions, and stressed important points we had learned from our own experiences. Three problems with that:

1. We weren’t giving her credit for being adult enough to solve her own problem.

2. We weren’t her mother – or anyone else’s.

3. She had not solicited our sage advice.

As writers, we make those same mistakes with our characters. We push them into taking our advice, living by our rules, doing and saying things they wouldn’t normally. Why? Because we think they are our creations, and therefore, ours to possess, like the mother who molds a child to fulfill her own long lost dream. So when our characters give us the cold shoulder or silent treatment, and refuse to meet the potential we imagine for them, we stupidly try to force them. Any mother who has tried this knows the distance it can create.

A good mother understands that even if a child has inherited her hazel eyes and adventurous spirit, she may not have similar dreams and desires. Children’s goals and interests are as individual as their personalities. Some kids turn out opposite of the way parents imagine, and others do exactly what is expected. One kid might lay tracks upon graduating from high school and never ask for another thing, while his sibling is too fearful to leave the house much less venture out of her comfort zone.

Our characters will behave like children. As character Moms, it’s our job to guide and nurture, allowing them to make their own discoveries as they learn how to doctor their own boo-boos without Mom stepping in to fix everything. We don’t tell them what to do, as if we could. They’re going to do whatever they choose no matter how much we warn them. They’ll trip and fall, head down dangerous roads, and engage in battles that have nothing to do with us. We can whack them with a broom if the situation calls for it. But tell them what to do and how to do it? No chance.

When all is said and done, a good character mother like Bill Cosby’s knows that she wears – and shouldn’t hesitate to wield – The Shoe of Power.

“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

Sheila Englehart is the author of Warning Signs, published by Second Wind Publishing

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Sisters… Revisiting Maple Valley… by Sherrie Hansen

On May 22, Merry Go Round, the third book in my Maple Valley Trilogy, will be released. It’s my favorite of the three books, in part, because there are several scenes that include all three sisters. (Stormy Weather is about Rachael – the headstrong oldest sister. Water Lily starts on the night of shy, middle sister, Michelle’s 20th class reunion.)

  

I’ve loved revisiting Maple Valley and the Jones family in these three books. If you have sisters, or enjoy family dynamics, I think you’ll love this trilogy.

In Merry Go Round, Tracy, the youngest sister, who has been a bit judgmental and cranky in the previous books, finds herself in trouble, and has to turn to her sisters for help.  Rachael, quite frankly, doesn’t feel much sympathy for her sister, and thinks it’s about time Tracy “gets hers”. Kindhearted Michelle is determined to help however she can.

Their mother is still reeling from the shock of finding out that the daughter who has always been her pride and joy (with the emphasis on pride) has fallen from her pedestal. In fact, for years, when confronted with the life choices her two oldest daughters have made, their mother has moaned, “Why can’t you be more like Tracy? Tracy never gives me this kind of trouble.”

Now, Tracy is in trouble – some of her own doing – some not. Her three children are caught in the crossfire. The roles and expectations the family hierarchy is built on have been hit by a tsunami. Everything is changing. Up and down, round and round, the merry go round is shuffling the Jones family’s preconceived notions until no one knows anything for sure.

It’s not only a wild ride on the merry go round, it’s a hornet’s nest. Have you ever noticed that sisters sometimes say things to you that a friend, or even a spouse, never would? For years, I deluded myself into believing that the gray streaks in my light brown hair made my hair look platinum blond. Enter my middle sister – who told me in no uncertain terms that I was indeed gray and needed to visit the hair dresser – immediately.  Sisters can cut to the chase like no one else. They can hurt you to the core. They also love you like no one else.  Sometimes it just takes a little shake up to get them to admit it!

And finally, the question everyone asks, since there are three sisters in my family – is the Maple Valley trilogy about my sisters and I?

Although there are certainly a few, “somewhat true” facts and incidents relayed in the books (no, I won’t tell which ones), the answer is no. In a very real sense, I think Rachael, Michelle and Tracy are all “me”, or characters that reflect a different facet of my own personality and life experiences… although I’ve certainly learned a lot about sisters from my own two sisters, my cousins, my mother and my aunts, and even my grandmothers and their sisters. I’m learning afresh by watching my 6 and 9 year old nieces, and listening to the things they say to one another. It’s a complex set of factors that comes into play when you have a sister.

My college roommate just lost her only sister to ovarian cancer.  It breaks my heart to think about what their family is going through. And it makes me appreciate my own sisters all the more – yes, even when they let me know what they really think of me, and yes, even when they’re being pains in the butt.

I hope you’ll enjoy my Maple Valley Trilogy. Please start at the beginning – read Stormy Weather first. Water Lily will be much more meaningful if you’ve gotten to know Rachael and been introduced to the family first. By the time you get your hands on Merry Go Round and experience all three sisters coming apart at the seams – and finally, coming together – hang on for dear life!

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Pulling from Life

There is a constant stream of real-life inspiration thrown into my face from all around. I can talk to anyone and draw a portion of their lives into my stories. I see situations in my daily interactions with others and these situations become the stages for some of my tales. While I’ll freely use a portion of another person’s life to build a character or a scene, I’m somewhat reluctant to openly use my own.

Most of my life experiences are cloaked in layers and disguised before they’re set down on paper. Some, however, are close to the bone. In one story, the character saw a news helicopter repeatedly circling the high-rise hotel as she watched sans robe from her 11th story room. Only later, as she walked back to the hotel from the convention she’d been attending, did she realize none of the hotel rooms had tinted privacy glass.

How strange and funny that even as I write this short confession of a real-life event, I feel my face flush in embarrassment and have to resist the urge to backspace and erase. I mean, seriously, how much of an invasion of my privacy is an event that happened thirteen, fourteen years ago? Is confessing this tiny thing going to adversely effect my relationship with my kids, my friends, my life?

Still, as I continue to write I feel the warmth of rising blood in my head. Several people who know me tell me I should write about my own life. While I don’t really see the “hook” needed to draw an audience in my own personal tale, some others do. To me, my life is somewhat mundane. Others see the adversities I’ve overcome throughout my life as a somewhat interesting tale. Well, that and the wacky events that seem to pop out of nowhere and land in my lap.

The question is: do I really want to share? How much do I want others, those I know and those I don’t, how much do I want them to know about me? The crazy answer to this question is a confession. A lot of me is already in my writing; I pull from the closest source.

Now, at this very moment, I’m in the midst of another life-changing event as I help my mother decide her future after a serious accident three weeks ago. This is the third major event in less than a year for me. Life changing, life altering, life enhancing – they all mean the same. The real question is, will I incorporate this event into my stories as fiction or fact?

I will probably do both. As my mother prepares for a change in her life situation, I also prepare for one in mine. It is neither better nor worse; it simply is.

How far do you openly incorporate your own life in your stories? First, second, third base or do you have no shame and hit the home run (and if you do, oh, how I envy you)? Or, are you like me and layer it so much that even those closest to you can’t separate fact from the fiction you’ve created?

When you’re reading the rendition of a true-life event wrapped as fiction, is this a plus or minus? How far do you feel a writer should go?

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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To the women…by Claire Collins

Happy Mother's Day

To the women who have come before us, and to the ones who will come after.

To the women who shared their laughter, their love, and their tears with their children, even when those same children were ungrateful for the sacrifices.

To the women who influenced someone else’s life by being the kind of woman who takes care of others.

To the women who gave up sleep to rock a colicky baby, who gave up time to drive everyone home after the party, who gave up an early retirement to fund a wedding.

JanmotPoemSoulAngelMother

To the women who love us.

To the women who take care of us.

To the women we adore who have always been there when we needed them.

To the women who are the Mothers in our lives, whether by birth, choice, or circumstance.

Thank you.

4yyurgl

From all of the children,

From all over the world,

From the infants through the elderly.

From those you’ve influenced and from those who have yet to arrive but will feel your love for generations to come.

Angel_Mother 2

Happy Mother’s Day.

angel_mother

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