I Stand Here Ironing Literary Essay

1048 words - 4 pages

The first time I read "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen, the emotions it provoked made a tight ball of fear and guild appear in my stomach, I broke out in a sweat and my heart began beating triple time. There were so many similarities between the mother's story and my memories of the last six years tat it amazed me. But after reading it a few more times, I didn't feel quite so bad. The mother (I will call her Tillie) and I both have done what we had to do to raise our children.One similarity is that when my oldest son, Charles, was born, I was barely nineteen. It was scary to be a parent at such a young age, but I loved him and took great joy in him. I had to leave Charles with someone else who did not enjoy him the same way I did when he was very tiny, just like Tillie had to leave her daughter: "She was a miracle to me, but when she was eight months old I had to leave her daytimes with the woman downstairs to whom she was no miracle at all." We both did what we had to do.I wasn't able to spend a lot of time with Charles when he was a baby because I worked seven days a week on a split shift. Circumstances had changed by the time he was a year old, to where I could stay home, but by then he was walking and talking some. I barely new him, just as Tillie barely knew her daughter when she got her back: "When she finally came home, I hardly knew her." Soon, I had another child (Kevin) and less time to spend with Charles. There were many times that I wished I had more time with both of them. I can remember a few different times when I would get up in the middle of the night and sit snuggling both of them in my lap, sneaking that quiet time. Tillie did something of the same sort when Emily had to stay home from school, "Sometimes, after Susan grew old enough, I would keep her home from school, too, to have them all together." We both did what we had to do.Charles and Kevin have always been as diametrically opposite as two people can be. Charles has always preferred quiet times by himself 'writing', coloring or drawing. It is not often he shows the natual exuberance of a child. He's like Emily, "she had a physical lightness and brightness twinkling by on skates, bouncing like a ball up and downup and down over the jump rope, skimming over the hill; but these were momentary." Kevin, on the other hand, was always chattering, laughing, running and jumping. He's never been still long enough to put effort into most things--they take too long. There have been many times that Charles has spent an agonizingly long getting a picture 'just right' olny to have Kevin snatch it as soon as his brother's back is turned. Then Kevin will show it to me saying, "Look what I did for you...

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