Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

I have a love-hate relationship with obituaries.

To my college journalism professor, they were a teaching tool and one of the best ways to emphasize how important the 5Ws of the lede paragraph were to a newspaper story. His logic made sense, especially because the obituary desk was the first job for many newspaper reporters in my part of the world in the mid-1980s.

I know that when my baby is sleeping for ten minutes or two hours and I can steal a few moments away, I can sit down and do what I’ve been taught to do.

Black women do this for their own children,
my daughter’s hairdresser says. I know this is not a small thing,
this thing I do not do, a white woman raising a black child.

Instead of wandering
through our usual thickets
of hello-how-are-you-how-is-your-life
our voices sound light and clear,
without the dim static
of doubt and hesitation.

He was asleep, but not really asleep. I wished for him to be awake. He was under, somewhere I couldn’t go. I wanted him back.

But I worry. I worry about how, in the language of this culture, the word "blame" is synonymous with the word "mother." I worry that my sister and I have become attached to the stories we rehash.

When I was little, I wanted to be my mom, but I don't think she ever imagined what it was like to be me.

Minutes and hours stretched ahead of her, barely eight o'clock now. She settled onto the sofa with the baby in the crook of her arm.

I was thinking how quiet the world could seem when Melina was quiet. How, at moments like this, so hard won, three didn't seem like such a bad number.

We are celebrating the many facets of motherhood with books near and dear to us as mothers, daughters, and friends of mothers.

I don't wake up in the morning thinking about nothing but writing.

And if that changes / monthly, why, think of it as one more instar, another / incomplete molt.

Not doing this is not a small thing.

She calls from a thousand / miles away.

Like a balloon set loose / by the air that fills it, / her head begins screaming / through the lobby

Weeds / are a mercy—lambsquarter, dock, pigweed, / purslane, butterprint—they give me reasons.

“Please Mama, let us go in your / shirt.”

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke discuss the dynamics of writing books together and how motherhood has influenced their writing process.

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The warm, trustworthy voice in Katrina Kenison's Moments of Seeing is not only a comfort to those adjusting to a new family structure but to writers as well.