Sometimes, it goes wrong.

Here’s my belated Mother’s Day post.

Fifteen years ago a reporter from the weekly paper called to ask if I’d grant him an interview. I stammered “Why?”

Well, we heard you’ve got a home-based business and we’re interested in supporting that kind of initiative.

Flattered, I consented. When the reporter arrived I offered him tea.

Sure, thanks. Have you got honey?

He asked questions while sneaking looks around my kitchen. I showed him my products, explained the process of crafting fragrant soaps from researched recipes, deadly lye and tubs of coconut oil.

Does every batch come out perfect?

No. Sometimes they do not.

He asked about the kids.

About where we came from.

About Tom.

I squirmed. Was my desperation obvious? Why were we here, miles from our roots?

A few weeks later, the article came out. Right before Mother’s Day. At the grocery store, fifteen miles from the house, I lifted a copy from the neat stack and placed it on the conveyor belt.

The clerk smiled. “Oh. It’s you!”

Glancing down, there on the front page, a woman who looked a lot like me smiled beneath the headline “Mother of the Year: Deb Reilly.”

Oh, God. No.

I was just a woman trying to be more than an extension of her family. I was no pious mother-of-the-year.

A decade later this ex-“Mother of the Year” let go of one of her children.

On purpose.

Released herself.

Turned the phone to silent—paying penance, gritting teeth through holiday voicemails. Churning empty.

No. No mother-of-the-Year could have let this happen.

No MotheroftheYear could have been so fucking blind.

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8 thoughts on “Sometimes, it goes wrong.

  1. it sounds so difficult – whatever that difficult is. Sometimes, being mother of the year means doing the impossible, the thing you never thought you could do. Sounds like you’re still a pretty good mom to me.

  2. rogueme says:

    Wow Deb! Your blogsite is looking great and your writing has a nice, “I’m here to write” feel to it. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! I love the line spacing, the short sentences, and the long ones in those tantalizingly large spaces between the lines. Well written! I know I could comment on the content, but you said quite a bit there. As a writer, you presented your post with a strong voice. I’m there with one myself. Thank God I didn’t get a father of the year award!!!

  3. Anette says:

    Oh, yes, Deb, only a “mother-of-the-year” could do what you had to do, however painful.

    You should also be awarded the prize for grandmother of the year!!

    Keep writing, keep mothering, keep protecting……

  4. KM Huber says:

    Well, Deb, once again you and I have “another thing” we seem to know. Although I am not a birth mother and was involved in two children’s lives for just eight years, I, too, am removed from them in every sense. I echo Anette’s sentiments and suspect you are lucky to have each other. You know how to do the hard thing and then to be, a belated Happy Mother’s Day.

    Karen

    • deb reilly says:

      Thank you, Karen. He’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I’ve wanted to write more about the feelings those thoughts stir up. You’ve given me the inspiration I needed.

      SO glad you’re “back.”

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