By Natalie Kemp You’ll start to feel a shift in your feelings when you become a mother, and you can’t imagine hurting your own children the way she hurt you, and you will lose your ability to empathize with her. I know you’re trying so hard, too hard, to make her see you, but she won’t, not now, when you’re blossoming into young adulthood, not later, when you’re graduating or getting married or divorced. She won’t be there helping you get ready for school dances, or ever see you march in the band, or even ask you what you want to do with your life. When she is there, she’ll usually be drunk. It will, now and always, be all about her. In fact, when you are going through the worst of your divorce and find yourself completely alone, she’ll call you one day, and your heart will leap when she asks if you want to go on a
Once upon a time, way back in The Olden Days, when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark, the Cold War was just ended, and Rodney King was wondering why we couldn’t all just get along, I wanted to have a baby. So have a baby I did, and less than two years later I had another, and while I wasn’t naÃ¯ve enough to think that raising children would be easy, neither did I recognize the potential for gut-wrenching agony in the whole enterprise. Thank God I didn’t know then what I know now. I was young and insecure and married to the wrong man, so it’s not like I started parenting strong, and I felt all the social pressures that many new moms feel: am I doing enough? Have I given them the best? I loved my kids deeply (they were very easy to love), but I was tormented by anxiety over whether or not I was a good mom, in
Holly Rizzuto Palker Interviews Jessica Strawser on her debut novel, Almost Missed You. ALMOST MISSED YOU by Jessica Strawser, is an intriguing novel involving a husband and two-year-old son disappearing while on a family vacation. I’m not sure how Jessica created this deliciously suspenseful book with so much else on her plate (she is the Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest magazine, and she and her very supportive husband are the parents of two children under age five). As a mother to three young children myself, I couldn’t help but catch up with Jessica to ask her some questions about her novel, her family, and her writing journey. 1. One of the most horrific experiences I can imagine would be for one of my children to go missing. What specific parenting moment sparked the idea for your premise? Fortunately, there was no parenting moment that sparked the idea for my premise, but rather it grew out of a fascination with the
Letters to Our Younger Selves, is our new column where readers write letters to their younger selves with insight and perspective. Submit your letter here and you may be published in Brain Child. By Tina Porter Dear Tina at 25, We are about to turn 55, are married and have three daughters—the oldest of whom is almost your age. I’m watching her life from afar now as she tries to find her place in the world. I can’t help but draw comparisons to who I was at her age, sometimes so viscerally I have to remind myself that I am, in fact, a middle-age woman. And maybe that’s why I need to chat with you right now. You are about to do something dangerous and I want to give you a glimpse of what is on the other side of that moment. Right now, you are working in a job you hate (working for lawyers whose only task is to
By Brett Paesel I have a three-year-old son, and I’ve come to the conclusion that raising a young child involves long stretches of boredom interrupted by flashes of terror and bursts of supernatural joy–which sounds awfully close to the definition of psychosis. And, also, I am told, combat. One would think that, knowing this, I would send my child off to boarding school and surgically ensure that I never have another child. But no. For a reason I cannot name, I am obsessed with having a second one. For a year, I pee on all kinds of sticks. Sticks that tell me when I’m ovulating. Sticks that tell me if I’m pregnant. I get crazy about sticks. I buy them in bulk and pee on them even when I’m not ovulating or remotely close to being pregnant. I begin to live by the sticks. I circle the best days in my date book for getting it on. I wake Pat
By Liane Kupferberg Carter “How does staying in an old palace in Paris strike you?” my sister-in-law Jill asked. “Drafty, but delightful,” I said. “Why?” Jill told me her daughter was spending a semester in Europe and Jill intended to visit. Jill knew I love all things French. “Why don’t you come with me?” I sighed. “I wish.” But the idea gnawed at me. I mentioned it to my husband Marc, trying the idea out on us both. “It’s nice of her to ask, but of course I can’t.” “Of course you can,” he said. “Don’t you think I can hold down the fort for a week?” A few days later Jill called and asked again. “Want to come? We could have such fun,” she wheedled. “Yes,” I said, surprising us both. Yes, I would go would go to Paris, because I hadn’t been there since the summer I was sixteen. Yes, although I had never left my children before.
By B.J. Hollars On the first day God created Heaven and Earth and on the second faulty internet routers. “Damn thing,” I grumbled, unplugging and re-plugging the cords. “Daddy,” my four-year-old called, heading down the basement stairs. “What’s the matter?” “Oh, Daddy’s just fighting technology again.” “Are you winning?” “Too early to tell.” “Okay,” he said, heading back upstairs. “Well, don’t let the sun fall down on your anger.” I froze mid wire-plug. “Excuse me?” “Don’t let the sun fall down on your anger,” he repeated. I lifted an eyebrow. “Where’d you pick that up?” “Veggie Tales.” “That’s it,” I sighed, dropping the router and focusing on the real problem. “Vegetables are henceforth banned in this household.” “Yes!” he shouts. “Talking vegetables,” I clarified. “You’re still eating them. I just don’t want you relying upon them for spiritual guidance.” Groaning, he began his shoulder slumped march off to bed. It was only a matter of time before he’d forsake me.
By Margaret Auguste “Are you sure you never had any other pregnancies?” My brand new infertility specialist’s words, delivered with a patronizing smile that somehow never reached his eyes, which were surveying me doubtfully. This reception was not what I had dreamed about from the person with whom I was placing all my hopes and dreams; the person that I was counting on to make me a mother, after years of disappointment. Hurt and confused, I struggled with trying to understand why someone in the medical profession, who by the very nature of their job, should be objective and caring, would instead be the opposite. Inexplicably, I wondered if in letting my guard down, and admitting my failure to become pregnant, that I was somehow responsible for my mistreatment. Shouldn’t I have known better? After all, as an African American professional woman I was not naÃ¯ve and was accustomed to upon occasion, having to navigate through spaces where my presence
The lights in the room are dim. An illustrated cross section of the brain floats on screen. “Parents of teenagers often act as surrogate frontal lobes,” the speaker, a bald man with wire-rimmed spectacles says, pointing to the lateral portion of the brain behind the forehead and eye. He explains that while the amygdala, or primitive brain, is entirely grown, the frontal lobe which governs higher processing skills such as rational thought, impulse control and goal-setting is still growing and won’t fully gestate until around the age of 25. I’d never considered being a frontal lobe part of my job description. Nor, apparently had the other parents in the packed room at our local library, eager students all, on a quest to learn more about the topic of today’s seminar, the teenage brain. I counted my five children on my fingers. In addition to Sophia, I had Luke, Olivia, Jamie and Johnny who would one after the other hit
By Dierdre Wolownick “Number One’s rolling!” My son’s finger shakes in anticipation. I follow his stare and see one perfect white egg roll onto its other side. All around us, people gasp. Kids of every size and ebullience level fill the museum; we’ve been jostled and stepped on all morning, elbowing our way through airplanes and plumbing, the human body and impossible machines. Science-in-art. Hands-on things to push, pull and measure. But nothing has so captivated as this little warm pyramid of glass with sixteen eggs in various stages of hatching. Nothing to push, pull or touch, no moving parts, absolute silence. It doesn’t seem like an exhibit that we wouldn’t be able to tear our little movers and shakers away from. Yet here we stand, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes, motionless. I never knew my son or daughter could stop moving for that long. A tiny speck of beak pokes out through a hole in Egg Number One. People cheer.