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Raising Mother

by LiNdSeYo7

It was eleven o’ clock on a Friday night, and I was stuck at home. The only thing worse than the current situation, was that my mother had somewhere to go. When your own mother has more of a social life then you, something’s not right.

I watched as she draped her only diamond necklace across her tanned chest. It was the prettiest piece of jewelry she owned, and she wore it often. At the moment, it worked well with her low-cut top. Layers of make-up, bottles of blonde hair dye, and an ensemble that came straight from my closest made her look like an entirely different person. If I were to bump into her at the supermarket, I would never guess that she was the mother of a sixteen-year-old girl. In fact, I would guess her to be in her mid-twenties.

Don’t get me wrong - my mother is unbelievably young (for a mom), but she’s not in her twenties. She’s actually 32, and yes, she had me at an extremely young age. Supposedly, when my mother was a sophomore in high school, she was a ‘knockout’. She hung out with an older group of people, ran around town doing the wrong things, and ended up becoming pregnant by some college guy, who she never saw again after the night they‘d met. That’s not exactly how her depiction of the story goes, but I can infer that what I think happened is closer to the truth.

“How do I look Jo?” She asked, turning away from the mirror to give me a better view. I shrugged. “Fine, but it’s cold out. You’d better put on pants. Where are you going?” I knew she looked great, fabulous even, but I was in no mood to feed her compliments.

She smiled, and twirled in a circle so that the ends of her skirt fanned out around her. Sometimes she reminded me more of a younger sister than of a mother, and it drove me insane. Then she slid out of the skirt and into a pair of pants.

“Oh.. Just out!” Her eyes and facial expression were begging for me to ask her again, to bug her for details of the night and a description of her current ‘fling’. I didn’t give in, but she proceeded to tell me anyways.

“Oh Jo, he’s handsome! A dentist, prettiest smile I’ve ever seen! We’re going for drinks at Delaney’s. I think this is the one, Jo, I really hope it works out!” I rolled my eyes, and her obvious excitement disappeared.

“You said that about the lawyer, the surgeon, the travel agent, and the zoo keeper;” I rattled off. “Don’t get your hopes up. Besides, are you sure he doesn’t have a wife?”

She slammed her perfume bottle down onto the vanity with such force that I feared it would shatter.

“That wasn’t funny Jolene - he doesn’t have a wife, you know I wouldn‘t do that! Daniel was going through a rough time, he was practically divorced aside from the signing of the papers! Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong with you! What did I do to make you hate me?” A tear began to form and she quickly blinked it back before it could disturb her mascara. Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed her purse and stormed out of the room.

Daniel Morris was the zoo-keeper, and he was also the father of one of my fourth grade classmates. Lydia Morris, the nicest girl in Mrs. Thompson’s class, had arranged for her father to give our class a presentation at the zoo. My mother, who was out of work at the time, had agreed to be a chaperone. Somehow during the trip, the two managed to exchange numbers and began seeing each other in secret. Daniel had a wife, and although they were having marital problems at the time, it gave my mother no excuse to step in and become a member of his pity party.

It was the Northwood Elementary Christmas musical, and I was preparing for my big number, “Santa’s Coming To Town”. I glanced out at the crowd, and began to beam when I saw my mother actually in attendance, seated right in the very front row. I figured that since the musical took place on a precious Friday night, my mother would have had better things to do.

“Hi mommy!” I had mouthed, before clearing my throat. Then all of a sudden, just as Mrs. Thompson began to play the piano, I noticed a commotion. Daniel had walked up the aisle with Lydia’s mother’s hand in his own. It was obvious that their problems were not as serious as my mother had thought.

I don’t know what was said, but I do know that my mother had opened her mouth. Soon their was cursing, and crying, and even a few incidents of slapping (directed at Daniel, of course).Despite Lydia’s parents recent reconciliation, divorce papers were signed the next day.

Daniel never called my mother after the divorce. Lydia never played with me at recess. When it was her birthday, she made sure that she was one cupcake short, and I was the last to be served. The Zoo field trip was the last trip that my mother was asked to chaperone. In fact, she was banned from all Northwood functions for the remainder of the school year. I never got to sing my solo, and now every time I hear “Santa’s Coming To Town,” I want to scream.

I sighed. Hating my mother wasn’t the issue, but having a mother was.


“Jo! Baby, I’m home!” The instant I heard our apartment door slam shut, and the loudness of her voice, I knew she’d been drinking, but until I actually got out of bed to check on her, I didn’t know how much.

“Baby doll, I brought back your favorite,” she slurred as she held out a Styrofoam box which crashed to the floor, revealing Delaney’s mozzarella sticks. “Whoops, I’ll get those.” I watched as she crouched down to the floor, trying with everything she had to keep her balance. It was pathetic.

I surveyed the damage. Her once perfect curls were now dangling down the back of her neck. Her cheeks were red, but at the same time, she looked awfully pale. Now for the hardest part - the part I always dreaded the most; I closed my eyes tightly shut and then quickly opened them glancing at the zipper of her pants. I gave a sigh of relief when I saw that it was still zipped tightly shut. There had been times when she’d come home too drunk to cover up the evidence, and those were the times that she hurt me the worst.

Finally, I did notice something extremely out of place. “Mom! Where’s your necklace!” She jerked her head up with a shocked expression and slid her hand across her chest.

“Oh Jo! It - It’s Gone!” She left the mozzarella sticks scattered across the living room floor and staggered to her room. I heard the cheap mattress give a creak as she flopped onto her bed and began to cry. She’d had her diamond necklace as long as I could remember, and I knew it meant a lot to her.

She’d dropped out of high school to have me, and her parents hadn’t given her much support. It’d always been just us two, aside from an occasional boyfriend, but they never stayed long. It was hard for her to find a decent job without a college degree, so we were always living moment by moment. Her diamond necklace was the only thing she had to remind her of the possibilities in life. I knew she felt as if the only hope she’d ever had was gone.

I piled the mozzarella sticks into the box and set them on the kitchen counter. Then I pulled the lid off of the garbage can and dragged it into her room, settling it just beside her bed. I clipped her hair up high on top of her head, and gently massaged her back.

“It’s okay. Maybe it’ll turn up someplace? Are you sure you didn’t leave it in his car?”

She shook her head. “No, Jo, I didn’t. I didn’t even get in his car. He never showed up!” She shivered, and I wrapped my arms gently around her waste, pressing my face into her back as if I were five all over again. She’d walked the five blocks to Delaney’s, and I had no clue how she’d survived the five blocks back.

I didn’t wonder for too long. Soon she had jerked away from me, depositing her drinks into the waste basket. Swallowing heard and attempting not to breath I went to fill her a glass of water and to start a cold shower. Sadly, it was not the first time we had gone through this drill.

Once she was settled back in bed, I slid my hand into her purse and revealed her cigarettes and lighter. I pulled on my jacket and sat on the balcony, pressing one against my lips and inhaling it’s toxins.

I was sixteen, for Christ’s sake. I wasn’t ready to be someone’s mother! My hand shook as I carefully ashed the cigarette, weaning it down to a mere butt. Then my eyes welled up with tears as I realized, she was sixteen, and she hadn’t been ready either.

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701 Reviews

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Reviews: 701

Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:46 am
ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...

Heyyyy! Forever here with a very very short review!!

Characters: Ah they were so realistic and so believable. I really liked the characters. It's great how you portrayed the emotions of the characters. I missed some physical descriptions of the characters like their body features... But I have to say it's not that that I couldn't imagine the characters at all. I could imagine them somehow, especially the mother.
Plot:This was so good. You managed to portray the struggle of a single mother very well. I really like how you show the disgust and anger of the child in the beginning and then she turns pitiful towards her mom. She understood the struggle of her mom. There were some grammatical mistakes and some tense errors too. Those can be easily fixed, however.
Pacing:Hm... The things were happening fast but with the descriptions, the pace seemed to be perfect. Like, it's just the happening of one day but you managed to sum up many incidents from the past here and there between the text. It gave it a fast pace but the descriptions were just in place to slow the pace.
The setting too was good, I think. I could imagine the surroundings well.

All in all, it was a great, sad and realistic story.

Keep Writing!!


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129 Reviews

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Reviews: 129

Sat Apr 23, 2005 8:40 pm
Mattie wrote a review...

I've read a story like this before...they always make me tear up. I loved how detailed it was and realistic. I love that she thinks how hard it must have been to raise a child at the age of sixteen and how she envies her mother by thinking that it should be her going out, not her mother because she's the one that's supposed to stay home and wait for her return. Not the other way around. I found this piece quite amazing and it had me thinking about it even after I finished reading it which is a very good thing. My favorite part was at the end:

I was sixteen, for Christ’s sake. I wasn’t ready to be someone’s mother! My hand shook as I carefully ashed the cigarette, weaning it down to a mere butt. Then my eyes welled up with tears as I realized, she was sixteen, and she hadn’t been ready either.

Marvelous as one person said and I'm going to say too because that's what it was. Marvelous. :) Keep writing and I hope to read more from you!

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685 Reviews

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Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:18 pm
Rei says...

This story sound eerily familiar.

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798 Reviews

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Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:33 pm
Areida wrote a review...

Marvelous. Simply marvelous.

I only noted two spelling errors:

Soon their was cursing

Should be "there".

I wrapped my arms gently around her waste,

Should be "waist".

Other than that, it was excellent. I found your descriptions easy to envision- not too sparse, but not too flowery. It was very well-written, and your closing line is powerful and gives the story a sense of resonance.

I wasn’t ready to be someone’s mother! My hand shook as I carefully ashed the cigarette, weaning it down to a mere butt. Then my eyes welled up with tears as I realized, she was sixteen, and she hadn’t been ready either.

Awesome. Just awesome.

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263 Reviews

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Reviews: 263

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:14 pm
Lollipop wrote a review...

I thought this was excellent. Very realistic!! You managed to concentrate on all the little details which gave it the finishing touch. Good twist at the end too! :D


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162 Reviews

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Reviews: 162

Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:25 am
nickelpickle wrote a review...

I think that this was very well written. Your story was on a really hard topic and I think that you appealed to emotions very well. I think that although many girls situations may not be like Jo's, I think that they can certainly relate to her. It was an excellent story, although it was sad...


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594 Reviews

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Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:05 am
Crysi wrote a review...

Sad but excellent. It felt extremely realistic. Kind of reminded me of the movie Second Hand Lions. Good movie. And good story by you lol.

I love how Jo (wow, I need to get over that name lol. My middle name is Jo, and I rarely hear other girls named or nicknamed that) hates and yet loves her mother at the same time. Well, maybe she doesn't hate her.. but she seems to hate her mother's actions. Reminds me of my mom and me. I don't hate her, I just hate some of her actions.. it's hard to distinguish between the two sometimes.. :?

Anyway, moving on.. I agree, the small details were very effective. And the ending was excellent, with her anger turning into anguish.

Great job! :D

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35 Reviews

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Reviews: 35

Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:36 am
dele24 wrote a review...

I really enjoyed this, I thought it was really good.

I liked the way it began, just putting us right there in the moment, and the parts where you took us back in time, giving us more information about the past and how this affected them. It contained some good detail and portrayed the characters well which makes it seem very life like.

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85 Reviews

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Reviews: 85

Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:27 am
faith says...

I liked this- it had good attention to detail, but not so much that is bogged down the story. just the little things like mozzerella sticks scattered across the living room floor, give it an extra touch fo reality.

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Points: 890
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Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:10 pm
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mim wrote a review...

I think this is really good and the like the part at the end where its almost as if Jo realises that her mother didn't plan her and that she wasn't ready either. I think it gives a good twist, if you can call it that, to the story. One mistake i noticed was that you spelt waist as 'waste' but apart from that i really enjoyed reading it. If this is your first story in a long time i would like to see waht you can do after a bit of practise! x

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57 Reviews

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Sun Nov 28, 2004 5:55 am
LiNdSeYo7 says...

By the way, this is just a first draft and it's also the first story I've written in a long time.. so I'm just expecting pointers!

It's been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.
— Mr Collins, Pride and Prejudice