With Regards to My Mother


"I shall love her all my life, shall be to her a faithful friend, and if I can not remain loyal to both God and her, I shall renounce her and never see her face again. You'll call this folly; to me it is a hard duty, and the more I love her, the worthier of her will I endevour to become by my own integrity of soul."

---Louisa May Alcott

"No, Shannon. You are not naming that doll of your's Vagina. Change it. Now," my mother was in no mood for nonsense. She'd prided herself on teaching her children proper names for all body parts, but was likely having second thoughts in the wake of my naming decision for my beautiful new doll.

I was nearly 5 years old, and actually not up to my usual mischief. I loved my new doll, she was so real, and the only other girl besides me. The name made sense. I protested.

We had been doing rounds for weeks my mom and I, and I'm pretty sure she was shopping for one of those "Safe Surrender" sites you can drop off infants you don't want to water and feed. She would apologize to the fire department for procrastinating for so long, but was it too late to return a five-year-old?

My whiny protests fell on deliberately deaf ears. My mother was, and is, Ms. Manners, and there would certainly be no curly-cued, frilly-dressed, Vagina laying on the back seat of her Pontiac crying "Mama" at random intervals.


I was pretty sure that if she was taking the time to do a consult with "God in Heaven" things were not going to go my way. I renamed her "Virginia" but her first and most heartfelt name was how I always saw her.

I just had to write this hub. What is it about your mother's approval that ranks somewhere around discovering an unknown planet, or watching the earth crack in half without being harmed? I know I'm not the only one. I've seen many otherwise sane women display this kind of twisted logic. Those few episodes of "Say Yes To The Dress" I've seen illustrates this perfectly. A young woman walks out of the dressing room looking as if she'd just stepped out of heaven--the entire store stands in applause, a gay male soulmate of mine is passing tissues to all store patrons, who like him, are literally weeping at the sight of her, and if her mother so much as furrows her eyebrows in disapproval the same young woman is racing back to the dressing room tearing off the gown as if it were engulfed in flames.

I am not judging that girl in the gown. I am that girl in the gown. No matter how independent I might seem on the surface, ultimately the death blow to anything I hold dear is my mother's disdain. I'll fight it initially, but it is pointless. Acting as both the one-woman demolition crew and architect of my psyche, I tell her often that she's going to keep my shrink in stitches when I finally break down and go get the professional help I need.

Now Father--Daughter relationships, that's something special and different in its own right. While I usually want to say something to the effect of, "Oh, hey dad, I was just sitting up straight, thinking about Jesus, eating vegetables, and not listening to Metallica before you called..." I can comfortably refrain. There is zero risk I could lose my father's idealistic love for me--angel that I am. In my Dad's eyes I really can do no wrong. I could asassinate the first black president of these United States, and my dad will be able to circumvent so quirky a short-coming as cold-blooded murderer with, "but that's my baby." With that fact as my only defense, my dad will motion that I am acquitted of all charges. Mothers, however, at times can be--let's call it frugal--with their approval.

How are mothers getting away with this kind of power? I guess it has something to do with the fact that our mothers see our flaws, and know we can do better. They see our mistakes, and know we can recover. They see us broken, and know it is temporary. And even when our own pain breaks their heart, they will poker-face through it rather than divert attention from whom they love most. And so we forgive our mothers their trespasses.

A woman is like a teabag. Only when in hot water do you realize how strong she is.

--Nancy Reagan

One day my mother had lost too much weight. One day she was too tired to help us shop for school supplies. One day one of the most obnoxiously strong people I knew--was weak. One day her arms shined like newly shellacked floors, and the doctors struggled for answers. When the fog of diagnosing cleared, the best of the best of medical expertise told her to "live as best she could, for as long as she could." A normal child, like my brother, would run to their mother, and hold on for dear life if she was scheduled to die early as our's was. I slowly backed away. As I knew my mother to be part-evil, and evil just doesn't die, she'd breached the love contract with her mortality. I had assumed, like every child does, that she was immortal, or that her death was so far into the unfathomable future that it was practically science fiction. It was the beginning of a new life on a plank's edge, wondering when I'd be made to walk into oblivion.

Innately indepedent, I found myself chronically, and pathologically "fine." If the worst was happening, I could handle it. If the sky was actually falling, I could nap without worry. My friends later voted me "most likely to drive herself to the hospital in labor." Life was no match for the prospect of losing my mother, and I was free. I never lived in "what if..." every moment was its own tale or question, and I was not shook.

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.

--Maya Angelou

She texts me, and it is dumb. My mother, programmed in my phone as "Birdie" wants to know if I'm headed to my "gross job." She hates childbirth.

I tell her to keep giving me grief so I can lower her nursing home budget.

She texts that my dad is so old before his time and is annoying her.

I tell her no one told her to get married.

She texts about her errands, and I tell her I need to go. Neither of us says "I love you," but we already know.

I head down the highway. I smile at the way my mother has never guessed that my choice of careers, in all of its disgusting, was to celebrate the bond that made the most sense to me--the one between a mother and her child. I smile at all the ways we white-knuckled time itself in grevious anticipation of her death. I describe her to people today as "too healthy." I describe her to my soul as love in 3-D.

Me at my "Gross Job"...

Permission obtained from baby's mother for photo
Permission obtained from baby's mother for photo


And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see -- or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.--Alice Walker

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.--Tenneva Jordan

Marge, I'm gonna miss you so much. And it's not just the sex! It's also the food preparation.--Homer Simpson

“My mother tried to kill me when I was a baby. She denied it. She said she thought the plastic bag would keep me fresh.” – Bob Monkhouse

The phrase ‘working mother’ is redundant.--- Jane Sellman

There was never a great man who had not a great mother -- it is hardly an exaggeration.--Olive Schreiner

My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.--Denzel Washington

It was my mother who gave me my voice. She did this, I know now, by clearing a space where my words could fall, grow, then find their way to others.--Paula Giddings

Experts say you should never hit your children in anger. When is a good time? When you're feeling festive?--Roseanne

A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, 'Where mother is.' --Keith L. Brooks

Comments 40 comments

diogenes 5 years ago

Both hilarious and sobering. Lovely account of you and mum. I appreciate the delicacy with which you left the actual details of your mother's passing to our imaginations.

And I must ask this, being diogenes, do you still have Vagina? Bobx

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Lol. Hmmm...I may have some editing to do. My mother is very much alive, tearing down wallpaper the last I checked. If she is planning on dying some time soon someone will need to float me a phone call as I am her health care agent :-). No, she somehow dodged her prognosis, which I attribute to alternative/complementary measures. I wrote a hub on alt treatment and then ended up writing this one because she was on my mind.

Sadly, I have no idea where that doll is.

GREAT to hear from you again, Bob! Thanks for reading.

SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Not sure what happened in that beautiful video, the poor guy fell in love for sure. And this very lovely hub of yours, Ahostagesituation, I voted up across the board, and really laughed about you lowering your mother's nursing home budget, but that laugh was necessary to balance the tears. Thanks for a great morning wakeup hub. I like your new profile pic too.

James W. Nelson

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

James thank you so much. I just changed the video because of your comment, and I replaced it with a song I'd used in the past on motherhood for my business. I wrote this yesterday in pieces while I was at work because it was a very slow day. When I picked, "Hands to Heaven" it was for the lyrics, I didn't watch the video. I thought of, "The other side of MT. Heart Attack" GREAT song, but the video is a sleeper. Sarah Mclachlan's video wins. Thanks for taking the time to read, and good seeing you!

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jami l. pereira 5 years ago

This was a beautiful Hub . I voted up ,useful,awesome , beautiful and interesting too !:)

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Hi Jami, I don't think I've seen you on HP before. I'm just returning, thank you for reading!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, nice to see you! I had to laugh at your doll! but maybe psychologically you were already getting ready to be a midwife! My mother was 'old school' she had me at 40 years old, and was a sergeant in the war! but her humour was second to non, and I still miss her, but I always remember falling about laughing at some of the silly things she said! loved your hub! cheers nell

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Haha! Someone else said the exact same thing to me about that doll's name! I'm not a midwife, yet though, Nell. I'm a labor and delivery nurse that wants to get to that point. Thanks for reading, nice to see you are busy writing!!

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Shannon, I enjoyed your look-back at happy memories of childhood. You sound like you had a terrific Mother and Father. The doll episode is precious. HaHa I know you are a labor and delivery nurse, R.N., but you are also a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing your memories..Ruby

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Ruby, I responded to you and then deleted it by accident I guess. I am really, really thankful ot have had your constant support and encouragement with writing. I've had a lot of odd things happen that center around writing over the last couple of weeks, and it seems everything says to get back to it. One thing was getting to meet the author of one of my favorite books, who read something from here and then sent me her agent's information. That was crazy. And just getting to meet her, as I told Nell, put me at the excitement level just shy of an asian chick in a Micheal Jackson documentary. I was so happy!

I really liked writing this yesterday. Between finding the main picture for this article and thinking of my mom from the last thing I wrote the writing was very easy. I was on the phone yesterday with my mom talking about that doll incident, which she definitely remembers. She doesn't read anything I write, but if my dad knew of hubpages and that I wrote here he'd read everything I've written, because that's how he is. And yes I do have terrific parents. Thanks agian for reading, and commenting, and know that I appreciate you.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Ahostagesituation! Great tribute to your mom, specifically and mothers in general. Sweet! Sweet!

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Dexter! Thanks for stopping by and reading, I really appreciate it. Mother-daughter thing is something very special...and complex :-). Thanks again.

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I voted all up, all across and clicked the ads. The Lord led me here. You are just like my Daughters. May I say, you don't have Daddy pegged? You will never fathom daddy's love. He is the real architect of your psyche. Mom is a control freak.

My daughters are cool. They give me the lowdown.

We have a mutual acquaintance who is "waiting on God". I am no fool. When the Lord says go, guess what? Now I sent this guy a link to this song. He was confused by it and asked if I believed in Jesus.

What do you think is the problem, here? http://youtu.be/y5uwXJusKhM

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Lol @ you clicking the ads! Thanks...if I'm making money on HP, I haven't checked. At this point I get to write from my sad little soul. I just do it to do it.

Thanks for saying I'm like your daughters, that's always an honor.

My mom "Birdie" (mama bird)--she gave up trying to control me, which just means I let her control me even more...funny how that works. I have zero doubt of my father's love. None at all. Even so I realize I'll never comprehend it. And he may just never comprehend me ;-).

The song...it's different. I'd only say that they're accrediting every decent thing they do, "good to neighbor" and what have you, to the "Jesus" in them. It's okay to be areligous and a decent person. The song comes off a bit hokey and slightly comedic. Just sounds as if the "Jesus" leaves any of that choir they might end up on an episode of "Snapped."

I love your feedback! Thanks for stopping by!

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I've been hip since hip was hep. Now . . . I am getting old and out of step. I love that song. It reminds me of driving through the rural south on Sunday afternoon, back in the day, out of the range of most commercial stations. All you could get was AME gospel stations. We would crank it up! I was an agnostic back then, and I think it seeped in, some.

Anyway, I was right. You explained it like my daughter would. I was talking more about their Mom than yours. She never took a break from trying to control everything and everybody. The upside . . . she could always get a discount price on anything. A car salesman begged me to get her out of his dealership once. We took up three whole days of his time. He was finally happy to take a loss on the sale.

Dee Ann 5 years ago

Shannon ~ Loved it! You had me at that first photo. The serenity oozes out of every pore. Being in health care myself, I think "Vagina" is a perfectly acceptable name for a dolly. Sometimes fate gives you a name that just sticks forever. I remember my daughter had her first baby doll that was named "Dirty Baby" because, well, you get it. That doll went everywhere with us and it showed! Every now and again I would actually banish that dolly to the washing machine and Erin would scream bloody murder until she was back in her arms, clean and dry. Of course that little girl eventually grew up and, had there been "safe surrender" in my day I would have been at the nearest emergency room dropping off my teenager on more than one occasion.

Even now, grown and (almost) old enough to have grandchildren of my own, my eighty-five year-old mother tries her darndest to boss me around. At times I find myself actually caving to her best intentions for me. Then, realizing I am over fifty, calmly inform her that she is no longer the "boss" of me. She knowingly nods her head and relinquishes control but only for the time being. She knows next time she'll get compliance even before I can realize the dictator has spoken. I know that feeling as a mom too. If my errant children would only listen to my sage advise, I could save them alot of heartache. But, alas, such is not the way of the world. We all have to grow up in our own way. I have told my children while I don't always agree on their choices, I agree on our everlasting love affair. And I still secretly smile when there is something to celebrate: an essay with an A, a perfect snowboarding run, a lost puppy found, who is the one they can't wait to tell?

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

@WD Curry, LOL at the car salesman thing. Everybody has their gifts right? Even those that boil your blood with their 'get wise to my wisdom thing.' Giving your two cents is one thing...control-freak another. I am not controlling, is that why I can't negotiate worth anything? I never responded well to anyone trying to control me, wouldn't attempt to control someone else. Thanks for the return visit! ;-).

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Oh, DeeAnn that is sooooo beautiful! I love it. At her most demented I see my mother taking a few minutes of her lucid time to show me who's bose. That's the way it will go. I just apologized to God for wasting food at lunch--that kind of deep-seated guilt can only come from worshipping at the church of "Mother." How do they do it?

I think I'd be the type of parent to let the name "Vagina" ride also. But then you run the risk of your kid screaming out of a window, "GET BACK HERE WITH MY VAGINA" to her brother. Risky business. But then again, I've never minded making uptight people uncomfortable.:-)

I love your comment, DeeAnn. You sound like a writer, like it or not. Thanks for reading. And that picture was so demonstrative of what I felt writing this. I love it to. Thanks, bud!

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Funny and gorgeous. So happy to be able to read your awesome writing! Voted up as such. :) I can't wait until I'm able to share in the joys (and struggles) of being a nurse.

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Oh that is an awesome compliment, Kitty! Thank you. I'm looking forward to you being able to relate to it too ;-). I'm planning on writing on nursing some time this week. It is a plethora of material for writing, I'll tell you. You never run out of things you could write about. Thanks for stopping by!

Leslie 5 years ago


I want to thank you for writing. I thank you for really putting down in words the love affair of motherhood. There is nothing that compares. You are incredible in many ways. Keep the words coming.

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Leslie, thanks for reading, hon. You are a gifted mom, I've seen how you work. This one was so easy. Directly from my heart. As is. Thanks again!

LisaL 5 years ago

Shannon - love you - so grateful to know you and hear your VOICE in all that you write. Touched by this as a mother AND a daughter.

I read it initially while on the couch with my 11 year old middle school baby sleeping nearby. How she dared to have grown up so much is beyond ny capacity for reasoning! I finished while nursing my angel/who knows who she's going to be little Zoë after she woke to demand that i help fill her tummy so she could drift back to the innocent sleep of a 5 month old. Looking at her peaceful profile I am so grateful for each of my 3 children and the honor of 'mothering' them each day!

I meet in the morning with my mother and sister to shop and it's true no matter how it plays out there is nothing quite as interesting, precious and complicated as a mother/daughter relationship!

Thank you as always for the beauty and insight inherent in your writing. I heart me some hostagesituation reading!!!

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Thanks for all that you've said, Lis! I really appreciate it. I love the complexity of the mother/daughter relationship. My mom, who hasn't read this told she was just surprised I'd even write about her being sick, because I never talk about it. For me she is a strength and weakness mixed together in one difficult to digest pill. And sometimes she's more of a suppository, but I love her painfully, as most of us do when it comes to our mothers. Thanks for reading, love. Beautiful comment.

AliceFSpencer profile image

AliceFSpencer 5 years ago from Texas

This is a really great hub made me smile thinking about how interseting and great your mom is.It also made me realize that I'm not crazy when I smile at the many interesting calls I get from my mother each day.This was truely heartfelt. Voted up !!

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Today my mother "OMG" ed me in a text. What do I do? There should be a hotline I can call for that. I love her dearly. She's my most devoted critic. Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comment.

Joy56 profile image

Joy56 5 years ago

mum is the word for sure.....

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

Hi Joy! So sorry for the response delay, I don't know how i did that. Thanks for reading!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Mothers are amazing, whichever way you slice it. Love all the quotes.

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ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

I agree with you and love the quotes too! Thanks for reading!

DexisView profile image

DexisView 5 years ago from New England

Ahh the mother/daughter relationship...so complex. I often reflect on my own relationship with my Mom and how no matter how old we get that one opinion carries so much weight. I have two daughters both in their 20s and I am sure they would say the same about me. No doubt when they become moms they will feel the same.

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago Author

DexisView, thanks for stopping by and reading! I appreciate it. I think that there is really no other way to describe this relationship but complex! And the cycle continues...it will always be a difficult thing. I could go on and on, as probably most of us could when it comes to our moms. Thanks again for reading!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Truly loved this hub. Your mother is a very funny person. Mothers and daughters always have problems. My daughter sent me a picture of her new ironing board cover yesterday. She knew I would be the one to appreciate it. Voted up and more.

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 4 years ago Author

Haha! My mother IS a funny person, I've made a fine mess of her :-). Thanks for coming by and reading. My mom would completely appreciate my sending a picture of a new ironing board cover, although she'd assume I've been abducted by aliens because I don't really iron. I cook and clean, but I've got to draw the line somewhere. I can't even say "iron" right. I say it how it's spelled. Hot triangles with handles to cure clothing wrinkles? I'm lost. :-)

Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 4 years ago from Philippines

Your regard to your mum is really fantastic! I'll find you a wonderful daughter if I was her! I can't see any flaw, I see only love between you two. I love how you play with your words, very entertaining! Praise God that your mum is well and still there to see you take the path she knows is best for you, her beloved daughter. Not one great soul on earth will be as honest with you as your mum, (apology for your dad, hahaha!) Clicked all the

buttons for an enjoyable read and voted up, too!

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 4 years ago Author

Hi Lita! It's great to hear from you!  How've you been?  I forget that

these articles can still be read by people.  :-)   I believe honesty

is the foundation for any type of love.   I was taught that.    And yes, my mother and my relationship is night at

the improv sometimes.  But there's definitely no lack of love.

Thanks so much for reading this!  It's been a while since I've seen

you on here.

Joy56 profile image

Joy56 3 years ago

Hello again, how are you..... i loved this hub great to catch up., Keep writing.

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 3 years ago Author

Hi there!! Great to hear from you. I'm well, pretty busy and preparing for some life changes. I am writing, not as much here anymore but possibly writing a hub soon though! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 3 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

What an interesting hop and skip through childhood and memories and motherhood. Your words flow so natural and enjoyable. These stories here literally walk on their own. :)

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 3 years ago Author

Hi there Astra! Thank you for reading this article. I enjoyed writing this and plan on a lot more writing when i return from my vacation. I miss writing blog posts and I have a lot to write!

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