Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Literary Mama Rewind: Birthdays!

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Welcome to Literary Mama Rewind! Every few weeks we'll round up some of our favorite essays, stories, poems, columns, and reviews from the Literary Mama Archives relating to a particular theme. Since Literary Mama is now celebrating her tenth birthday, this week we are discovering the stories that commemorate our lives. All you have to do is click and read....

Three years ago, LiteraryMama.com hit the web for the first time. Our main mission: connecting mama readers with mama writers. As I look at the scrapbook that commemorates that birth, I see images of the real-time writing support group that played midwife to LiteraryMama.com.

Bill and I recently celebrated twenty years of being a couple. So we did the standard thing -- we threw a backyard potluck barbeque. And then we went out and got matching tattoos.

Women's Day, August 9, has been a South African public holiday since 1994 but the significance of the date extends back to 1956. On August 9 of that year, 20,000 women marched into Pretoria, to the seat of the oppressive, sometimes violent, pro-apartheid National Party. They stood in silent protest for thirty minutes, many carrying children on their back, and laid petitions of over 100,000 signatures at the Prime Minister's door.

I'm sitting with a group of friends in one of New York University's sterile student apartments singing "Happy Birthday" to our beloved teacher, Ruth. "Seventy-one," she marvels, shaking her head and pushing a loose strand of her long red hair out of her eyes.

  • Anniversaries by Vicki Forman from the Column Special Needs Mama

My babies weren't supposed to come in July. The summer days between June 30 -- my birthday -- and July 30 -- my son's, were not meant to be layered deep in memory and regret.

But now that the day has arrived, I don't feel typical at all. And as much as I'd like to turn this into a typical birthday, I can't. Two things stand in my way. First, my son is not here to celebrate. And second, I am not yet his mother.

I planned her fifth birthday party with the obsession only a newly separated mother could bring to such a task, pouring everything into the details that would make my girl happy, as if a party could make up for the events of the last month.

"You going to wish me happy birthday?"
"Weren't we ignoring it?"
"Yes, but as it turns out, you did get me something."
"No, you made me swear. No mention. No card. Not even a rose. No cupcake. No nothing."
The bathroom clouded up. Grace held up the stick with the big red word on it.


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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