A Mother’s Time Capsule, my newly released collection of stories, has its roots in the very beginnings of my quest to be a writer. Though I had two small children and a house to run, it was a time when women’s magazines, REDBOOK, McCALLS, were printing short stories written by women. I could do this! So I set my desk in a corner of the den, bought a decent electric typewriter and before my children awoke each morning, squirreled away an hour to craft some stories.
Not surprisingly, the strength of my stories increased when I rooted them in the emotions and conflicts of my own life–and my being a mother. The very word has such affecting connotations and a fascinating history. The words mama and mother have similar sounding equivalents in many languages like: Modor, Moeder, Mama, and Maman, and they all are easy for babies to pronounce. One researcher suggested that mother/mama could be the oldest surviving word from some ancient language humans lost long ago.
For some the simple mention of the word mother elicits a cascade of powerful and uplifting memories. For others, a failure in the raising, a major argument or misunderstanding or even a physical loss because of death, divorce or sheer abandonment attaches pain to the word and its memories. The relationship we have with our mothers proceeds, colors and affects the very trajectory of our lives.
My stories are not pure autobiography–but they are tangential to what I have experienced as a mother to my children and the daughter of my mother. Below are a few examples from the 13 stories in the collection:
FRAGILE: It’s a given that mothers worry about their children. But can a wife and mother who worries too much shape her own reality? And how would that affect the father who is almost a stranger to such concerns?
In the story, a couple takes their daughters, eight and four, on a camping trip and an accident occurs. My husband and I had two daughters those ages. I certainly had fears, and he was often traveling. As I wrote the story, my fears came onto the page and I worked through them. Trust must be part of mothering, but I confess when I first witnessed my three-year-old granddaughter climbing park equipment, my knees went weak. I was plunged back in time.
ON THE CUSP: When we look at our adult children—working, traveling, raising their own children—it’s sometimes hard to believe they once relied on us for everything. We want our parenting to make a difference in their lives and sometimes we learn things too.
This story derives plot elements from two incidents–one about my daughter when she was eight, another about me in my empty-nest years. But the message? All of us are guilty of not following through. In the story, Carrie pays the price for not being responsible, and her mother Kate realizes that she too will suffer if she doesn’t follow through on a major health issue.
WHEN DID MY MOTHER DIE? We all know a mother, our own, and even if during our lifetime we never have children—as our mothers age the role will reverse, and like it or not, we will know many aspects of motherhood.
This is my most recent story, written after my mother died in 2013. It reflects the anguish and confusion of loving someone so intensely that when they develop dementia and their lives are narrowed down to sitting in a wheelchair, you can hardly bear it. But you have to.
A MOTHER’S TIME CAPSULE takes you on the different journeys a woman faces when assuming the life-changing responsibility of motherhood. You’ll meet aging mothers, fearful mothers, single and divorced moms, a mother deprived of her infant, another dealing with the attempted suicide of a daughter. Motherhood is love and caring, complete joy and devastating sorrow. It can fill the heart with sweet moments, or trouble the mind with conflict and thorny choice.
Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my journey from writer’s desk to the publication of A Mother’s Time Capsule. I hope you enjoy the book and I welcome comments about the stories on www.boomerhighway.org, Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon.
ebook and soft cover available: www.elizabethahavey.com