Motherhood, Undone

Nest, abandoned, Kelly Salasin, June 2019

There’s a thin line between love & hate. That’s the chorus from an old song, right? But my therapist says something like that too–hate/love–two sides of the same coin.

Both my kids graduated this season–one from high school/the other from college. As I look through the photo albums and the keepsake boxes that I carefully prepared over the years, I think about putting all of it in a pile, outside, dousing it with kerosene, and lighting it on fire.

I share this motherly vision with Aidan as he packs for his interview upstate. “We don’t have kerosene,” he says, as he stops to wrap his arms around me. “But you could use the fuel for the lawnmower.”

I haven’t seen the baby foxes for more than a week. I left for 4 days and somehow they left too.I stare at the rocks every day, waiting for them. I betcha they were fed a Robin for breakfast one morning because she never returned to her nest either.

Maybe I should write fiction instead of memoir. This isn’t about me. This is what it is to have been devoted. To have loved and sacrificed. To have arrived at the other side of the bridge.

We’ve had a good run the four of us. I’m equally determined to be one again. To distill a singular focus. To make a gift of it, this wild & precious life I’ll call my own.


Go Away Dreams!

Tomorrow, my job starts for real–as in a message has been sent to the Directors of 22 countries, introducing me and my new email address. No more hiding out from the reality I co-created.

Last week, I did a general orientation day with the Director which put me into a free fall. Tomorrow, things get more serious, as I am introduced to the nuts and bolts of my responsibilities with the previous administrative assistant.

As I sit down on my front porch with a cup of green tea, I realize that I am avoiding my dreams. I have a pile of materials to go through from work, but I haven’t spent much time with them.

Granted I did have to run out of state for an emergency, and it was the Thanksgiving holiday, and there is a lot of laundry and other chores to catch up on–but I’ve spent the rest of my time–writing–in fear that our relationship will be left in the dust of my hours away from home and the responsibilities that will crowd my thoughts.

My husband called me three times today to encourage me to face my work, but I keep postponing it. I’m wanting to savor these last moments of a freely engaged mind.

Though it’s really not true, I begin to wish that my life wasn’t changing. I feel sad about giving up my slow mornings and self-directed afternoons. I want to hold onto that which I am accustomed.

But I can’t. Because if I do, I’m running away from my dreams, and what’s the point of having them, if we don’t make them come true?


Kelly Salasin, November 29, 2010

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