Published on July 23rd, 2020 | by Edvige Giunta


Your Mother Is Brave

My son, you may not know that your mother was brave once. At seventeen I defied the fascist youth on the streets of Catania, brandishing a piece of paper. I left home, country, language, family.  The street was my friend. 

You would not have known that I was brave when you watched me stand fearful behind the glass door and mumble, “Perhaps not today. Perhaps I will go out tomorrow.”

That night I was breaking. 

But you said, “Come on, Mama. Let’s go.”  

You saw me balance in the middle of our street in our town ravaged by a virus. 

I took small steps and hugged myself to hold my pieces in place. 

“Look, Mama,” you said. “It’s okay. Breathe. Open your arms.”  

I inhaled and air trickled deep down inside me. A slow exhalation and my arms unpeeled from my chest, one at the time. I hugged the empty street and shivered but kept walking. And you, my boy, slowed down to be by my side. 

“It’s okay,” you kept saying. Your voice was calm and patient. The see-saw of care tilted. This time you were the one. 

I don’t know if there was a full moon that night, but there should have been. 

Leaving is an act of courage, even when you stay afraid.

Photo courtesy of the author

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

Edvige Giunta was born in Sicily and came to the United States in 1984. The author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors and coeditor of several anthologies, she has published in Creative NonfictionRiver Teeth, Tiny EssaysLiterary MamaBarrow StreetFictive DreamTint Journal, and other publications.  She is Professor of English at New Jersey City University. Her children, Emily and Matteo, are her best teachers.

2 Responses to Your Mother Is Brave

Leave a Reply

Any comments left on this article will be sent directly to its author. We do not at this time publicly display comments. (If you want to write a public post about this article, we encourage you to do so on social media). We love comments, feedback and critique but mean or snarky comments will not be shared and will be deleted.  

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top ↑
  • Subscribe to Mutha

    Enter your email address to subscribe to MUTHA and receive notifications of new articles by email.

    Email Frequency