a mother’s strength, revisited

Last night, I sat in a circle with seven women inside Vermont’s women’s prison talking about the roots of Mother’s Day. I read Julia Ward Howe’s  “Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870 (watch dramatic reading here.)

Portrait drawing of poet, anti-slavelry activi...

Drawing of poet, anti- slavelry activist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe (Wikipedia)

Most of us have no idea that Mother’s Day originated as a movement toward international peace. Reading Howe’s words today feels as immediate and relevant as if they had just been written. Sadly. And, on a more personal note, finding peace with mother – within and without –  continues for many women to be a lifelong struggle.

One of the prompts offered last light was to share a remembered scene of my mother, something learned that I want to take with me today.  Read JL’s moving story below. Continue reading

‘for years I have longed for . . .’

This phrase was offered last week for the women writing inside Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility to start their writing during group time. Many tender pieces emerged, including this one. DB, who wrote it, was unable to read it aloud. But at the end of group, she wrote ‘I have to learn to read my work aloud, especially when it’s about my children. Maybe it will help me in the end.’ Comments like this reinforce the value to the individual of writing and having her words witnessed. Her quickly-written response to the prompt follows:

“For years I longed for . . . . someone to call me mom, look up to me for advice, guidance, send them to school. I finally got that opportunity and I fucked up worse than I ever could have. I’m sitting in jail with no one to call my own. Continue reading