Motherhood & Words

I’m sure all of you know about the I-35W bridge collapsing into the Mississippi River on Wednesday night. It’s a bridge that I drove over from work to Stella’s daycare. It’s a bridge that countless people drove over every day to and from work. No one I know (that I know of) was injured or killed in the tragedy, but still, I feel so sad. I can’t stop thinking about the victims and their families and friends, all those mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and partners.

Last night, I dosed off putting Stella to bed, so I decided I should just go to bed, as well. (It was 8:30.) But when I climbed into my own bed, I couldn’t get the bridge out of my mind. I kept thinking, what if I had been on it? What if Stella had been with me? If we plunged into the river, would I have been able to get her out of her car seat? Out of the car? Safely to shore? I really started to panic, my fear so consuming that I got out of my bed and climbed back into Stella’s bed and held her sleeping body, kissed her dear face.

We are cities divided by a huge river. In our daily lives, we must cross the river over and over again. How vulnerable we are, how unpredictable life is. Please keep our sad cities in your minds. Please send up a thought for the victims and their loved ones.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Mandy on August 3, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    So glad you’re all right. Within a few hours, I had an email from an Egyptian friend expressing his sorrow about what had happened in Minneapolis – already they knew in Cairo.

  2. Mardougrrl on August 3, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you for writing that. I was afraid even to put it into words, but yes, I’ve also been thinking about that. What if I’d been on that bridge with Madam? How would I have gotten her out of the carseat in time? She doesn’t know how to swim–can I swim with one arm?

    *sigh* I am glad to read that you are all safe. I assumed you were because you posted on aug. 1st but I should have emailed to check. Bad Mardougrrl!