The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Daughter by Vicki Hudson

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You came when a woman is usually past
the messiness of a child with all
its evolutionary prized self-centeredness and demand.
You came and introduced fear into a life
If not well lived, lived with adventure, risk;
attempted without regret.

You brilliantly exposed remorse for
time squandered in search of tangible achievement
and the wait for rightness –
Right partner, right career, right security, right place.
Time expired. Then, later, you presented bringing a second
vicarious chance.

Ambivalence when you were a thought,
But the instant you slipped fast
after 72 hours from your first knock,
(Portent of nature revealed in forthcoming years –
action immediate upon decision dawdled towards)
My regret washed concurrent
in the surging tide of relief and joy and
love for you and her.

And fear.

A lifetime is a simple calculation.
This, then that, then the other thing.
A plan.
No plan survives contact; life had its own plan.
When the daughter is, the mother will be
– simple math.

Your great, grandma died at fifty-seven, her daughter only seventeen.
Your grandma died at forty-nine, her daughter two weeks graduated college.
You were zero, an hour, a day.
Your other mother –
I was weeks shy of fifty when you took your first breath.
That milestone day flew past,
displaced, forgotten in chaos of adjustment,
scarcity and the unknown.

Bread crumbs and easter eggs left in boxes and closets;
a journal of letters
unopened box of single serving bake ware for college
a velvet bag of lucky coins from across the globe
with a silver sixpence for your wedding day
touches with history –
collected published works.

Watching your exploration, discovery, delight…
I am distracted in memories not yet born.

Glimmers of who you will become exposed
in glimpses of competitive cradling of your toy basketball,
your subtle manipulation
Mommy, saayyy ‘let’s go to the pool’;
Your sheer joy in movement when dancing across the floor;
all creates untimely grief as I mourn
your loss yet to come when
tomorrow brings reprise another motherless daughter.

Let’s have a doze your bedtime invitation.
Cuddled warm upon the pillow, eyes close, breaths together slow
Rolling inward
four year old hand grasps my fifty-four year old one,
then before you fall asleep you say –
Everyone needs a mommy.

vicki hudsonVicki Hudson is a cross-genre writer with a MFA in nonfiction. Find her work in a variety of print and online literary journals. She curates a monthly writing and publishing interview series, Three by Five, on her website and each year sponsors an emerging writer contest. Visit for calls for submission and how to participate with Three by Five. Social media: @vickigeist


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