For Father’s Day: An Homage to My Child’s Mother

Stefan's wifeSo, I was taking one of our wonderful walks with my crying kid through this dreamy California neighborscape. Sophie had fallen and scraped her hands – something she wouldn’t even balk at had she been at the park or further away from Her. But here, and after the fateful events of ten minutes ago, she was focused, you could say, on a certain (female) person.

I doubted the morale of our trip in the first place. Ten minutes before we were leaving Her, and after Her sweet kisses and soft looks, my daughter did an award–winning impression of an eternal goodbye with tears that would make a winged Oscar Committee cry into their leather seats. Blue eyes rimmed in red, platinum hair being blown by the foul wind of her Departure with Daddy, she wailed like Winslet. [Read More…]

From Death to Life (A Mother’s Circle)

Laura Jane Murphy's ashes IIMy sister and I were recently able to return my precious mother’s ashes to her birthplace.

Honoring her life, we traveled back to her hometown. This little dot on the map, reminiscent of “Mayberry,” N.C , was established in the eighteenth century by her ancestors.

Mom died almost four years ago.  At the time of her passing, my sweet daughter was only ten.  Losing her grandmother led to a profound questioning of her own heritage. I will never forget the moment when she spilled her guts out in pain. Grief unleashed the deep sorrow of loss and awareness that she was not of my blood.

In that rare moment of emotional release, crying and in between gasp for air, she asked, “Why?  Why wasn’t I wanted?”  And, added the sentence, “You don’t know MY PAIN.”  [Read More…]

Who Teaches Us How to Love? Mom

i love mom IIWhen I was a child, I remember my mother getting on the floor and playing Barbies with my sister and me. I admired the way she colored in coloring books – outlining the drawing and lightly coloring the inside. I appreciated how she comforted me (and got angry in my defense) numerous times when I came home from elementary school, crying after being bullied.

I miss the way she rubbed my head as I laid on her lap, how she braided my hair at night and how small I felt when she gave me a big bear hug.

As humans, none of us are perfect but there’s something about mothers. As little kids, we fall in love with our mothers – they are our superwomen. There’s an element of our mothers that will always feel just right – perfect – for us. It resides at our core. [Read More…]

Cyma Shapiro Interviews Elizabeth Benedict, Author of What My Mother Gave Me


Q: Mothering is a complex topic fraught with so many aspects and adjuncts. What was the impetus for writing this type of book?

A: Obsession is the impetus for most books, and this was no exception. The last gift my mother gave me was a beautiful black wool scarf with pastel embroidery – quite striking and gorgeous – that she’d bought from a holiday vendor at the assisted living place where she lived at the end of her life. I wore it for many years over the neck of my winter coat, and got compliments on it all the time, and was always asked where I got it. It was always hard to answer, both because I couldn’t direct anyone to a store, and because it came from my mother, with whom I’d had distant and fraught relationship.

After she died, I became silently obsessed with the scarf, and went into a panic when I thought I’d lost it. For years, I thought about what the scarf meant to me – that it kept me warm, that it stood for my mother, that we’d had this distant relationship.  After a lifetime of not feeling close to her, I felt an intense attachment to the scarf. I eventually wondered if other women had such a gift from their mothers, a gift that opened the door to the whole relationship. I started asking writers, and the result has just been published. [Read More…]

Women and the Art of Play

We all know about the importance of play for the emotional growth and development of children. It can enhance their imagination, increase social skills and boost self-confidence. So why don’t we place more value on play for ourselves? According to a recent study by the Families and Work Institute, over one half of American women don’t have enough time to spend on themselves and to choose the activities they enjoy. [Read More…]

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