Essays Mother Daughter Relationships

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She would likely never be adopted, my friend told me.

She would likely be forced to support her little sister—the fourth girl in the photo—by working as a prostitute. My husband and I had enough children–seven, to be exact, some biological, some adopted.

It is striking to observe, again and again, how the unique character of any mother reverberates, in ways small and large, in the lives of her children.

"Dad may have motivated my artistic impulse," writes Stephanie Elizondo Griest, "but Mom is my forever muse." And isn't that the case for so many of us? Who doesn't need to transfer at least one of those stories to the page, deliver it outside herself and look at it from that vista? There can never be too many mother essays in the world for me.

But these women are also strikingly similar in being defined by contradictory behaviors and beliefs.

Marshall Chapman reflects that her mother, "outspoken and opinionated," was really two people: "the authentic, adventurous one and the one who toed the line of '[w]hite male imperialism.'" A tendency to resist the suffocating demands of their own elders is another common trait.

" by Jill Mc Corkle, paints a portrait of Mc Corkle's mother that is punctuated by bits of dialogue between the author and her mother in the years when the elder woman was succumbing to dementia.

The result is both hilarious and breathtakingly poignant.

She would likely contract AIDS and be dead before age 20. I tried to put the girl out of my mind, dragging the photo to my computer’s trash can, then emptying it. One day, on what I convinced myself was a mere whim, I called the adoption agency. They ranged in age from Rob, 23, to Atticus, just 3.

Her dad had died of AIDS, and when her birth mother saw no alternative but to surrender her children for adoption, this girl had threatened to drink bleach. Had anyone adopted the other two girls in the photo? The big sister was the problem: She was...difficult. We’d also recently had a financial catastrophe—hardly a good time to take on more responsibility. And so, ten months later, on Christmas Day, Merit and her little sister Marta came home to me.


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