Inside Outside – Reflections on Raising Children


By Nancy Orans Eder

February 2015

I was a masquerader —
A fraud.
A fake disguise employing love and energy to smile
hiding the fact that my marriage was disintegrating

As if things were normal,
Sexy and sassy —
I sat on a park bench with friends
ponytail and sandlefoot
in Washington Square
sharing recipes and nursery school gossip.

I pushed my kids on the swings
and watched lovingly as they built their castles in the sandbox
while my castle was crumbling.

I considered
aaaaaGoing for therapy–
aaaaaMaking a career —
aaaaaGoing to graduate school –-
aaaaaMoving to Vermont –-
aaaaaOpening an ice cream store on Roosevelt Island –
I created daydreams on the playground.


I loved the hours with
my curly-headed
beautiful grey-eyed boys.
Their antics filled my focus
breaking through frightening thoughts of divorce and single parenting.
Imaginary play with blocks and cars filled the bedroom floor
with their toys.

The love we shared exceeded anything I could have dreamed.
They needed me.
I wanted them.
They loved me.
I loved them more.

Sterilizing bottles
Changing diapers –
Doing laundry for three,
The lone adult in the house
Was me.

Cleaning floors
Washing clothes
Cutting carrots
Cutting hair
Cutting class
Cooking soup.

Brushing teeth
Brushing hair
Buying food
Boiling bagels
Buying sneakers
Stuffing sandwiches
in metal boxes.

Making meetings
Breaking dates
Attending outings
Telling stories
Getting sitters
Getting lawyers.

Treating fevers
Giving tissues
Drying tears
Doing tricks
Making beds
Making eggs
Making do

Fights and giggles
Bruised knees
Lost keys.
Soaking wet boys.
Broken toys.

Time at home – a smush of memories
Hours become days,
Weeks become months
Filled with board games and balls,
Sailboats, bike rides and books,
Schoolwork and homework,
Homework and housework.
Weekend drives
Nighttime stories in the dark
Hugs and kisses,
Kisses and hugs.

Inside we bake cookies –
Outside we drag sandwiches,
the stroller, the two-wheeler and the shovels
to the sandbox and the playground.
Under an umbrella we brave the showers and
build broken twig dams together
in the mud.


Inside and outside merge
as time evaporates.
I handle it alone.
Even when present
He was conflict
He was no help.
He was not love.
I did it alone.

I grew to relish the sole pleasure
– joy and privilege –
Of being the confident parent
I wanted to be
Inside and out.

No job,
No man,
No hobby,
No vacation or vocation
Has ever surpassed the experience,
Has ever given the satisfaction,
or topped the pleasure of being their Mom.

Inside or out.

Tagged , , ,

3 thoughts on “Inside Outside – Reflections on Raising Children

  1. elinor Levin says:

    Beautiful !

  2. Peggy Strait says:

    That string of words said so much.

  3. pallix says:

    Reblogged this on Phase Three and commented:

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