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Non-Custodial Mothering

Breaking the Mold

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Non-Custodial Mothering | 0 comments

All my life I've watched women in movies and TV of the '50s and early '60s and thought secretly to myself that I would not be like them, that I came from a different generation, the one after bra-burning, and that things had changed for me. I was wrong.

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Art, A Mother’s Legacy

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Non-Custodial Mothering | 0 comments

My mother was no artist. One day when I was eight she brought out a boxed art kit and drew fantastic trees with wonderful wild wiggly branches and roots. I drew my trees that way for weeks, but Mom put the art kit away. No matter how much I wished it would, the art kit never came out again. I wanted to see inside her, for her to wear her wild wonderful soul -- like the trees she drew -- on the outside, but she put herself away along with the art kit and became older, smaller, and less of herself every year.

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Three Magic Wishes

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Non-Custodial Mothering | 2 comments

Before Nathaniel and Serena stepped off the plane here in Seattle, I had a plan. I would grant myself three magic wishes. One wish was to practice what it felt like to be a different kind of mother from the one I had always been. This new mother allowed her children to stay up as late as they wanted to at night. Meals were haphazard and no one minded. There was lots of laughter. This new mother stepped back, let go, and trusted. This new mother reveled in each moment of being with two of the people she most loves. First wish, check

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Sacrifice

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Non-Custodial Mothering | 0 comments

My expression of motherhood has been one long chain of sacrifice. I didn't plan it that way, but I can look back now and see what I created: quitting jobs to raise babies; sleeping sitting up while holding nursing infants in my arms; commuting three hours a day so my children could go to the schools that best supported their needs; dishing out the best bits for the kids and taking what was left for myself at every meal. Growing up, my brother and I teased our mom when she claimed to prefer her toast burned. Now I know why she did that. It's a mother thing. Sacrifice.

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That Must Be Hard

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Non-Custodial Mothering | 0 comments

Mothers like to bond with one another through shared experiences. We tap into a universal umbilical cord that pulses with hugs, tears, wiped noses, and hopes. We swap birth stories, reveling in a shared language that is understood the world over. We lock eyes with a stranger -- made suddenly a friend, an ally -- over the heads of our over-stimulated toddlers in the cereal aisle. This capacity to instantly know and recognize another woman's experience becomes part of our stories, our identities. We are mothers.

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Fine

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Non-Custodial Mothering | 0 comments

This is my last column at Literary Mama, marking a journey of nearly two years since I began mothering from afar. I had hoped that by now I'd have everything under control and would know exactly how our story will turn out in the end so that this last column could be like a vast Lego city that stretches into the future, with me and my kids as tiny Lego people heading off together into a happy rainbow-colored Lego sunset. But I gave away all my Legos and I don't have a map of our path into the future. I'm a psychic without a crystal ball with which to scry my own destiny.

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