I’m honored to have my essay “Hindsight” in the Winter edition of Mary: A Journal of New Writing.
I was a graduate student in psychology when my therapist said, “It sounds as though you spend about ninety percent of your time trying not to be like your mother.” True. What right-minded person would want to be like my mother? She was weak, sickly, hospitalized for suicidal depression at one point, and an alcoholic. Striving—consciously and non-consciously—not to be like my mother shaped my life for decades.
Feelings rather than logic drove Mom’s thinking. She was a kitchen-sink fighter—throwing everything into every argument. For her, no argument was ever lost because no argument was ever over. As a child, even in my bedroom with a pillow over my head, I could hear her screech about things that happened months or years ago with no apparent connection to whatever triggered this particular bout. I absolutely sided with Dad when he’d finally say, “I’m not gonna listen to any more of this crap.” He would then head to the basement or garden, the door banging behind him.
My earliest memories of Mom aren’t so negative. She worked hard, laughed a lot, enjoyed playing euchre, and taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. An excellent seamstress, she made a wedding gown for one of her younger sisters. She and Dad belonged to a square-dancing club, and she sewed their matching outfits. She was inconsistent—sometimes sending me out to cut a switch and then not disciplining me with it—but she also made wonderful birthday cakes. She taught me to sew, cook, clean house, and iron.
Read more at Mary: A Journal of New Writing. Thank you to Mary‘s editors for publishing “Hindsight.”