Grace Brought Me Home

By Megan Wilcox Goates

How do you define the word home? It’s deceptively tricky, because we each originate from different types of homes, and we each live with personal challenges as varied and diverse as the population of the world. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” wrote Leo Tolstoy in Anna …

Read More

Guest Post: Please Consider Trauma Therapy for Sexual Abuse

This is a difficult post to write. For some time I have considered sharing my experience with sexual assault and the healing I experienced through quality therapy. I have ranged between wanting to keep this experience private to wanting to shout to the rooftops. Ultimately, I have decided to finally share my experience because sexual …

Read More

First Things First

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

The Boy who was Raised as a Dog

When our youngest was born (it’ll be 27 years ago on April 18th), my husband held Chase in his arms and cooed, “We love you so much, and you haven’t done anything cute yet!”

Fast forward a few years. We lived in a lovely little home with exposed beams and stucco walls. On the landing of the stairway, there was a significant crack from the settling of the house over time. Along that fissure the stucco jutted out – a mini tectonic plate shift. If one were inclined to pick at things, this provided great temptation. Three-year-old Chase didn’t see it as temptation but an opportunity suited to his curiosity. He plucked away at the stucco until there were shards of plaster on the carpet and lath exposed in the wall.

Within minutes I saw the mess and damage and bellowed an annoyed and mighty “Arrrgghhhhh!”

Chase heard this and absorbed it into his tender heart. “You broke my feelings!” he wailed.

Immediately I saw that it wasn’t Chase’s stucco plucking what was the problem. It was that my umbrage bruised his little psyche.

Quick intervention with hugs and cuddles seemed to salve his emotional wounds and eventually spackle and plaster took care of the wall. Chase has no memory of this encounter so he has either suppressed it admirably, or he successfully shook it off at the time.

Read More

Refugee Mothering

Natasha Loewen’s mothering post wraps up the UP CLOSE topic of motherhood for May.  Natasha lives in central Alberta with her husband, four children, and a large yellow lab. She is starting a 4-year B.A. in English this fall, after a 10-year period of full-time mothering. She recently achieved a goal to have a poem published in a literary journal, and she writes online at BecomingSomething.com. She longs to save Dr. House’s soul and believes she could if he’d just give her the chance.

As a child I once fantasized that my mother, at eighteen, was secretly the town whore. I hoped for men sprinkled throughout the world, all possible sperm donors, and that one day my real father would reveal himself from among them. He would be rich–rich enough to afford a McDonald’s birthday party and dance classes for me. He would be overjoyed to know me. He would have abandoned me by accident, not by choice.

For about two years I suspected that my mother was really my aunt, raising me because she was the oldest of five girls, and the youngest, my real mother, could not bear the responsibility. But, I do have a photo, printed long before PhotoShop, of her swelled belly framed by the cliché red and white, polka-dotted, baby-shower bikini. That’s standard evidence, right? And as I age more rapidly than my age should allow, there’s no mistaking her face on mine.

Read More