20 Years of Literary Mama: Luck
Luck, or its lack, seems to be something we refer to often in motherhood. Maybe you feel blessed that you became pregnant quickly and easily, finally conceived after a period of infertility, or became a mother through adoption after years of waiting. Perhaps you thank your lucky stars you dodged pregnancy. Did you consider yourself extremely fortunate that your baby was born with all ten fingers and toes or was a great sleeper from the beginning? How many of you lucked out because your child never struggled with school, or if your child did struggle, you lucked into finding the resources and support to help them? With St. Patrick’s Day having just passed, we wanted to share some of stories related to luck that mama writers have shared at Literary Mama over the past two decades.
My Lucky Stars |Mother City Mama column June 2011| Katherine J. Barrett
But to hell with it. I’m tired, he’s tired. We’re into the second leg of our trip now, a 12-hour day-flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town. Thomas slept maybe three or four hours on the previous flight, the overnighter from Toronto — not nearly enough to feel like counting or math. I cut him some slack and leave him to glower at the emergency floor lighting. Besides, there can’t be long to go now; feels like we’ve been on this plane forever. I check the handy flight tracker at the head of the aisle.
REMAINING FLIGHT TIME: 9 HOURS 14 MINUTES
It can’t be.
9 HOURS 13 MINUTES
Lucky | Chronic Mama column May 2009 |Amy Mercer
Five years later, I am pregnant with lucky number three. In the first trimester, I was still adjusting to the fact that we were going to be parents again and didn’t want to think about tests. But I am older this time. At 38 years old, I am at a higher risk for genetic abnormalities and knew I would need to decide between a CVS, amniocentesis or first-trimester screening. I didn’t want anything to do with any of these. Compelled by a mixture of guilt and curiosity, I dusted off my Mayo Clinic pregnancy book and looked up genetic testing. On the page that discussed Chronic Villus Sampling, there was an illustration of a tiny fetus with a giant needle poking through a uterus. I quickly closed the book. I couldn’t do that to this baby. But I worried that my husband would want the security of scientific results.
As a woman with diabetes my life has been structured around the promise of control — that good blood sugar control could ward off blindness, amputation, heart disease, and an early death. After 25 years, control has kept me safe. So it’s unnatural for me to give up control over aspects of my life, and the lives of my children, to close my eyes and trust that everything will be okay. Because it isn’t always.
Infertility Rites | Fiction January/February 2022 | Cathy Warner
Kayla in Cornelia’s lap grasps at the shiny gold figures dangling from the chain around Cornelia’s neck—the Virgin Mary, a football, and a foot.
“Milagros,” Cornelia says to the baby, “they bring you little miracles.”
Cornelia had worn her football milagro all last season: The Ravens won the Superbowl, and she was a thousand dollars richer.
“You wear a milagro, you pray, and the Virgin Mother will bring you a baby,” Cornelia had told Gail as she slipped a baby charm into Gail’s hand after her win.
Gail had tucked the trinket inside an interior pocket of her purse and left it there. But by the pool, she thinks about fishing it out, adding it to the necklace she’s wearing, a palm tree with a diamond studded trunk, a wedding gift from Anthony she still wears every day. Gail closes her eyes and turns her face to the sun. With all these babies around, poolside seems the perfect place for a milagro, as if it’s the happy hour special and she could order rum and hope.
Her acupuncturist taps thin needles into Gail’s arms and legs, turns down the lights and leaves her to relax. In the first years, stretched on the table, she imagined there was a baby—half-an-inch long and fully formed like the pink plastic dolls she bought for a nickel as a girl—only to watch her disappear in each period’s flush. But in the months since the acupuncturist diagnosed her with cold in the uterus, Gail imagines an inhospitable wall of ice without so much as a crevice for a baby to grab hold of.
There But for the Grace Of | Poetry September/October 2022 | Catherine Gander
When you were a poppy seed, I carried your bed inside me.
Something I could only imagine.
At night, before I’ve turned out the last light
I open the door to your room and wait
in the sugary gloom for my eyes to determine
the shape of you. Your head appears first,
tangle of dark heat against the pillow, then
your arms, rainbowed above your head, or bent
like lightning across your ribs, as if drawing
back a bowstring. Warrior improbably at rest.
Lucky Guy | Creative Nonfiction January 2014 | Jackie Mercurio
In my son’s letter to Tom Hanks, he explained that he had always been a fan and how he is working to become an Eagle Scout in Bronxville Troop 5, hoping the training will help him become an officer in the U.S. Army, possibly reaching the same rank as Captain Miller. He wrote that the old newspaper clipping, hanging in his room, made him happy and that he would bring it wherever he was stationed, for good luck. He ended the letter: My mom and I have front row seats for tonight (AA 109/ 110) and I am totally psyched. All the best, Mr. Hanks, Your biggest fan, Savino.
That evening, Savino and I walk into the theater shoulder-to-shoulder with throngs of people. My son, who is accustomed to sitting in the balcony and using mini binoculars, is thrilled to be in the first row. “Look. I’m lounging,” he says, putting his feet on the stage, his hands behind his head. “Wow.” It feels like yesterday that he was six, when his chubby cheeks were the last of his baby fat, when he wore his Cub Scout uniform for the first time. The navy button-down shirt and yellow neckerchief made him proud, made him salute himself in a mirror, made him recite the scout motto over and over: “I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country, to help other people, and to obey the law of the pack.” Now, my son’s big feet flop from the stage to the floor and, with both hands, he touches the stage’s thick black edge. “Just wow,” he says again.