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Our Mothers


Faced with the overwhelming concept of “having it all,” our mothers bucked at the idea and clamped back down on the vision of young weddings, fresh babies, and the expensive photos of us in our white gowns feeding cake to our blue-eyed husbands, who faked crying when they saw us appear at the head of the aisle, bedecked in veil and tulle. “You’ll understand once you get married,” our mothers said, shaking their terrified heads wisely. “You’ll change your mind once you have children,” they opined. They never told us that our fathers have taken to sleeping on the couch, that our mothers now sleep alone in a big, feather bed. “You’ll get to know each other again when you're both retired,” they assured, mailing us secret checks so we could treat ourselves to a fourteen-dollar bottle of shampoo without asking our husbands for more money. There’s never “more money.” And the house is a home until it isn’t. And the kids can drive a wedge. And the silences that flare up suddenly can feel as sharp as a knife. But no one told us that. Our mothers never told us that.

First appeared in Parhelion, May 24th, 2019.