Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

It was by far the oddest setting she had ever experienced.  The room was full of Democrats and Republicans, energetic, idealistic youth, middle-aged mortgage holders with job woes and the calmer, slower elderly battling arthritis and other ailments. It was not her definition of an ideal party.

She watched from  her corner perch. People flowed through the kitchen, dropping off dishes full of treats as they exchanged hugs. Wine and conversation flourished. Music exploded from a nearby speaker as young cousins ran hand in hand. Doctors, Lawyers and Judges clinked glasses with waitresses, mechanics and store clerks. Drinks flowed, food disappeared and laughter grew. One by one the group migrated to the festive living room.

It was here people handed each other brightly wrapped packages. It was here they related stories of their past. It was here they passed out more hugs than gifts. It was here she realized that she was going to like the family she married into. It was here she discovered the values that shaped the man she loved. It was here that she realized she loved her new family.  It was here that her husband pulled her into the group for a hug. It was here that she realized the perfect gift didn’t have to come from a store. It was the ideal party.

I vividly remember a Saturday afternoon, the summer of nineteen-sixty eight. A summer I was camping with my parents. I had done something wrong, I don’t remember what, but it was enough for my usually lenient mother to send me to the trailer, and bed as punishment. After what seemed like hours, my father came to talk to me. Feeling abused and unjustly treated, I wanted to tell my side of the story to my father. I also decided to include a new phrase I had  heard around the lake in my talk. When he told me how upset my mother was, I sat up and spouted my newly learned phrase.

“Well, she didn’t need to shit a brick over it!”  I did it! I pulled out an adult phrase showing my displeasure over their actions! I felt proud and strong. Then the hammer dropped, the room fell silent, my fathers face turned to stone. I shriveled in my skin, I had done something really bad! I spent the rest of the weekend in the trailer while my friends swam.

Years later, in the fun times known as the ’70’s, I sat in my usual place at the table during a family dinner. Feeling hip and grown up, I said, “pass the potatoes dude,” to my father. Things changed so fast I could hear the tinkle of ice as it shrouded the room. Dad slammed his fork on the table and mom fixed me in her stare. I was excused from the table and learned that I could call people dude at school and play, but NOT at home. I began to see the social rules, the morals and norms that kept families together. The values that helped us navigate the world.

Then came the children of our generation. We had already tested the water,  using lingo unique to our generation. Many of these new parents didn’t want to be “un-cool.” They let their kids be kids, speak anyway they wanted, with few boundaries. They continued to evolve, using new words and giving less respect to their parents and family. This has evolved into;

Suck it
This sucks
What ev
Meh
omg
Hate

We need to teach our kids  how to speak, with respect to themselves and others. We have to stop being “cool” and be parents. I don’t want my kid uttering the word “sucks” all day. I don’t want a “what ev” when I ask t hem to empty the trash. I want them to be able to converse, spell and build healthy adult relationships. It is up to us to give them the tools and discipline. We owe it to them to teach them how to speak, listen, learn, show respect, command respect and act. We can’t sit back and let their teenage, online communication form their adulthood. We need to have as much, if not more, input in their lives as social media.

The stress gripping her heart pulsated and swelled, leaving her lips numb, her vision blurred and her hands shaking. One more problem could very well explode her brain. She remembered her grandpa’s saying, “some days you are the dog, and others, you are the fire hydrant,” but he never told her what to do when you were being pissed on for an entire month!

What else could go wrong? Her computer died, her truck had no brakes, her stereo speakers quit working, her kid needed sixty dollars for a school fee, the electric company threatened to turn off the power if they didn’t get money, her doctor left the country, leaving her without medication and her car insurance  had been canceled. Hell, even her can opener had fallen apart. On top of that she was slated to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her family.Not a problem unless your oven stopped working and you can’t afford to fix it!

There was nowhere left to turn. Money wasn’t going to fall in her lap. She couldn’t fix appliances or vehicles with magic. Her kids couldn’t get what they needed as long as she was running the show. She was deep in thought, on various ways to check out and end it when the phone rang. The schools message stiffened her spine and forced her out the door. The school had been evacuated, there was an active threat in the building. Insurance be damned, she drove to the school and paced around the building, mingling with tear-stained parents hoping for a glimpse of their child. Hours passed as she  held her stomach and made small talk.

When her kids finally walked out of the building, she realized that all she needed was them, and they her. They rest would take care of itself.

 

Crawling into bed, she pulled the covers tight and gazed out at the full moon that hung in the sky like a piece of frozen blue ice. The trees lining the walk were bare, but their icy branches sparkled and danced in the light as if they had been draped in diamonds. Tucking the blankets under her feet she poured a glass of wine, opened her book and sighed in comfort as the wind gently rattled the windows. She was in the middle of chapter four when the noise came. Soft at first, than loud and insistent. From a gentle knock on the door to a ruckus that threatened to tear door from frame! Then a moment of silence before it began again.

Rolling to her side she opened her night stand, secured her gun and sprung to her feet. She shivered from the cold, hesitating at the bedroom door as she struggled over the urge to hide or confront, especially after last time.  Her mind returned to the past, the knocks, the screams, the gun going off in her hand. She had felt she was in danger, surely anyone could see that. Anyone finding someone yelling and beating in their door at one o’clock in the morning would feel threatened. She had opened the door, he made a move into the hall, his face shrouded by a hood and her hand reacted, the gun went off. The police came, the coroner removed the body, reporters plastered grainy pictures of her terrified face.

She was acquitted, how was she to know he hadn’t come to harm her? How was she to know he was a seventeen year old boy who’s car would die, leaving him on the streets and late for curfew? How was she to know a gang of thugs had chased him for his new shoes? How was she to know he saw her outside light and ran to her for help?

How was she to know he would return night after night to haunt her? How was she to know she would never find peace or redemption from her prejudice? Opening the door, she descended the stairs to face the hell she was to endure for eternity.

Submit a story or poem, inspired by a weekly photo in this fun, flash fiction group. You can read submissions or add your work HERE.  Comments welcome, as long as they are respectful and helpful, not hateful.

i used this pix to show that emotion doesn’t change. War and reunions are as old as time.

Historic Fiction

Words: A bit over 99

Rating: PG

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 Copyright – Dawn M. Miller

She ran, her bustle slapping her ankles.

“When is the troop train due?” She yelled over the counter.

“What?” The elderly attendant yelled.

“The troop train!”

“That’s it now!” he shouted.

Rushing to the platform, she studied the car doors, taking in every face. Wives hugged husbands and mothers clung to sons. She had no idea if he was on this train, but hope ran high.

When he emerged, pale and weak, she cried. Would he be the same?

Picture it & write it is a fun, flash fiction group that meets weekly. Read the stories or submit your own HERE.

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2021 in the U.S.A. wasn’t pleasant. Special interest groups and big money had legislated the country into an unbearable stew pot of chaos.

Slang words, racially descriptive words, such as Caucasian or Latino were illegal. It was also illegal to possess soda, beer or liquor. A strict dress code was enforced and anyone caught frying food was jailed and subjected to rigorous dietary training. Persons caught smoking or using narcotics were put to death in public displays designed to set an example. Anyone caught in a relationship with a same-sex partner was castrated or mutilated in some way and sent to live in a desolate penal camp.

“Normal” couples wishing to have children underwent rigorous testing. Those  found lacking were denied. If they committed a crime, had arthritis, asthma or were otherwise deemed unsuitable, they were denied. If they couldn’t  maintain state health insurance they were denied. Abortion was illegal unless ordered by the state. If you were pregnant and didn’t pass state mandates, your pregnancy was terminated. Any child born with undetected illness was put down.

The obese were locked away until they reached normal levels. Once released they were re-checked,  if they regained weight they were terminated. Senior citizens were put down at the first sign of illness.

A new revolution formed, no muskets,  just the same desire for freedom. The first to fall were the insurance carriers who guided laws in the name of public health, while making millions. Next came the corrupt government. The movement could succeed, or they could die, but they had to try.

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I already released two kids into the world. One is gone, and one is near with his spouse and kids. Now I am raising three grand kids. It doesn’t get any easier. The oldest has turned eighteen, he was dragged through high school kicking and screaming, but we pulled him through. He is done with all high school classes and all that is left is the graduation ceremony. He attends the local vocational school, specializing in Aviation and Aeronautics. He is a math and engineering whiz who thinks far beyond my capabilities. He will graduate from there in less than three weeks.

However, he is still young!  Even though he is eighteen and almost done with school, I could pull out the  “it’s a school night” excuse to enforce a curfew, but he was always home at least an hour before his curfew.  As a parent, I LOVED this! He was home and all was right with the world. Time after time I would give him permission to stay out late on a Friday or Saturday night, but he would be home by ten or eleven.

He works flight simulators like some of us breathe. His brain is a human calculator. He doesn’t drive, smoke or drink. He is home after school each day and is here until bed. He has friends over and they work on computers, listen to music and eat. He is a good kid with little world experience. I tried to push him out of the nest, urged him to join clubs, go to friends houses or get a job, but he was happiest at home. I know that I have to shove him into the world. He has to drive , get a job, a place to live, form relationships.

But, the mommy in me was pleased that he was home safe and I didn’t have to worry. Then today came! He left here at 7 pm with a friend and at midnight he still wasn’t home. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. He is over eighteen and able to stay out as late as he wants, but you can’t turn off the worry or desire to have your chickens in the coop before bed. I had to. He is a hard-working man, with above average intelligence who was taught core values.

He came home, later than usual tonight, and I found out why. In the late 1970’s a “friend” stole a large portion of my vinyl record collection. I know they sold them for drugs but didn’t have valid proof, I let it go, but I have always mourned the loss of those albums. Many were gifts from friends, my mom, aunts and cousins. Turns out, my boy was out scouring second-hand shops and music outlets for these records. He purchased many for mother’s day! He only gave me three as a teaser, but he left my mouth-watering!

This encounter left me a greater gift. I know that his heart, and head are in the right place. He is ready to enter the world, meet women and pursue a career. He is green, but he is well armed. My conversations with him have shown me that he is an intelligent man. He is open-minded and tolerant. He has a strong work ethic. He embraces music and the written word. He has a soft spot for animals and children. He is a computer geek and math whiz who talks about aeronautics as easy as as I take a breath. He is good with people and adjusts to each circumstance. He will make mistakes,and ask for help and I will stand by and let him, it’s my job.

Once again, I have to release the hand of a boy and let the world have the man. I can still see him running over the yard, his golden curls bouncing in the sun.  He will do great things and I have to back away and let him do it.