99 Word Flash Fiction: A Finite time for Nurturing

Charli’s prompt this week I found once again difficult. I was once a nurse. Nursing is considered a nurturing profession. I don’t agree. Nursing I do think is a caring profession. I used to say that the day the tears stopped coming and I felt cold to the loss of a patient, indifferent to a relatives’ despair it was the day I would give up nursing. I’m happy to say that didn’t happen. I gave up for other reasons. I still had compassion and empathy.

Nurture is by definition the giving of birth and the care and raising of that child to adulthood. To foster their growth and give them the tools to survive in the world. It can also be used in relation to an idea that one gives birth to, sustaining it and growing it within them until such time as it becomes reality.

For me, as  a memoirist, this becomes a difficult subject to write. I have never given birth. I have never raised children or been around people whilst they raised them. I am almost a child free zone. Not by choice but by lifes rich patterns.This prompt in particular has confirmed what I have been saying that most writing is memoir. Amos Oz, a French author/memoirist, also believes this going on his response to a question about what was autobiography and what was fiction in his narratives, ‘Everything is autobiography: if one day I were to write a love story between Mother Teresa and Abba Eban, it would no doubt be autobiographical, but it wouldn’t be a confession. All my work is autobiographical, but I’ve never confessed.’ Without the memoir, even if writing fiction, I don’t have the tools to do the task.

I do believe that nurturing is the most important task one can carry out. To bring well-rounded, happy individuals into adulthood cannot be easy. I hear only mainly of those children that aren’t nurtured — that make the news headlines. I know that many are well nurtured but these I don’t hear about until I meet them as adults as they perform actions that we are all proud of and their parents must particularly be so.

To my mind all nurturing must have a finite time.

She gave birth to me,

suckled and fed me

Taught me my manners

Raising me

the ten commandments

to heed.

She mothered

She nurtured me.

I felt safe and warm

my tummy was full

I was encouraged

My learning fostered 

and my interest fuelled 

in that about me

She mothered

She nurtured me.

That was then. 

Now I am older 

She needs to let go

Allow mistakes to be made

Stop rescuing

Not stop caring

But release me

to be the adult

I was raised to be.

Nurture belongs to the young

Don’t smother me

Let me be free

The final

selfless Act

of Nurture

Is to let my child go.

In response to Charli’s 99 word prompt:

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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19 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: A Finite time for Nurturing

  1. Ouch. That flash. Really well done. I don’t know if we can every truly release or stop rescuing. I actually try not to do a lot of rescuing now, even though my kids are young, but it’s tough. Maybe as they get older it will be easier. But maybe not. I don’t know. Love the end of this. Still. Ouch.

    Agreed. The autobiographical connection to our writing (well, I write personal essays and you memoir–so…fiction) is real. Not always a true story or even based on a true story but certainly coloring it. I’ve written about this before. Where is that line?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sarah I think it must be the hardest thing in the world when it comes to your own child. I’m sure my own Mum still sees me as a child. If you are already practicing I’m sure by when the time comes it will be hard but you’ll do it. Anyway I’m glad you liked it.
      And fiction is fiction despite the autobiographical aspect of it. LOL

      Liked by 2 people

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Well done, Irene. I couldn’t imagine it being said better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    An honest introspection on nurturing. I hadn’t even thought of it in such finite terms of parenting. Yet you did well to show nurturing from the reversed role of the one nurtured. The last line, “The final/ selfless Act/ of Nurture/ Is to let my child go” is an act that one has to keep practicing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Norah says:

    I enjoyed your thoughts on nurturing, Irene, and especially enjoyed your flash in poetic form. Well done. Some parents do struggle to see their children as independent, responsible, decision-making adults. I like to think I do. Whether they do is another thing. I usually try not to give advice, unless requested, which is rare, and rather discuss issues openly. I try to ask myself, would I interfere or say something similar to another adult. I figure I had 16 years to have input, then they make their own decisions. I very proud of the decisions they have made.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Norah. I like your approach asking yourself would you say something to another adult. And to be able to say how proud you are of the decisions you made shows without doubt the great job of nurturing that you did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        Thanks Irene. I was a bit concerned that my comment may have indicated a lack of care and concern, so I’m pleased it didn’t come across that way. It was meant to show respect; and that respect goes both ways. Though they do both joke about being able to choose my future nursing home! 🙂 (Well, I think they are joking!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • No it didn’t come across at all as not caring. Respect does go both ways. Humour such as you describe is a sign of love that you are comfortable enough with each other to say things like that without causing offence.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Nurturing Neighbors « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Sherri says:

    Once again Irene, your raise some very interesting points here. I never thought of the difference between ‘nurturing’ and ‘caring’ in this way, especially as you define what is behind nursing, as a caring profession, but not as a nurturing one, which is very different indeed. Your flash is creative and tells the story from beginning to end as it deftly builds from complete dependence to full independence and those feelings of being smothered by our own parents that most of us can relate to, no matter how old we are. My dear mum who I love to bits, still makes me feel like a child when I’m driving, drives me crazy – pun not intended, ha! And so it continues…the ‘letting go’ never really stops. But I do believe that nurturing also comes into play in our other relationships and friendships too. And I think you are a wonderful nurturer by nature my friend, absolutely ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing the Amos Oz quote… it was exactly what I needed to stumble upon… I look forward to exploring your blog further.

    Liked by 1 person

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