Second Shift

On a break from someone else’s kitchen, my mama spent some time working in a textile mill.

The work wasn’t hard. But it was repetitive.

The pay was good and there was no grease. But the hours were long.

They were inconvenient hours. Family hours. We missed her four evenings a week.

She’d be there in the morning to tell me she loved me and have a good day. And then I’d go out to wait for the bus. I’d let myself in when I got home in the afternoon and wait for Daddy to get home.

Sometimes I’d have a softball game on those days and she wouldn’t be there hollering at me from the bleachers. And even though I hated all her hollering, I missed it when she wasn’t there. Daddy would be there, sometimes, but it wasn’t the same.

I missed her.

After all, it’d been the two of us for so long.

There were nights I’d wake up when I heard her come home. It’d be 11:30 and pitch black outside my bedroom. Pitch black inside my bedroom. Maybe it was the sound of her coming home that woke me. Maybe it was just the feeling that she was there. Finally. Home. My heart complete again.

Sometimes when I’d be laying there awake, wanting so badly to run down the hall and hug her, it was like she sensed that I needed her. She just knew. And I’d hear her footsteps coming toward me.

Instead of jumping out of the bed to greet her, I’d pretend to be asleep.

She’d sit on the side of my bed. Sometimes she’d talk to me and tell me she loved me. Sometimes she’d pray. But most of the time, she was just quiet. Still. Present. She watched me sleep. Listened to me breathe. Like she was centering herself with my peacefulness.

She found the calm in her soul.

I have no idea how many times she actually visited me at night just to see me when she finally got home. I have no idea if she knew that I was only pretending to sleep sometimes.

But I know that in those moments, her affection was shown through her presence. Her presence was her love.

Now, I am a mother. When Joshua senses something is off-balance in his dreamworld, he calls to me. I go in to him and while he is drawing comfort from me I center myself on the peacefulness of his sleep. I find the quiet my soul needs.

My presence in that moment of his need is my love.

This week we were asked to write about affection. While there were and are other moments I could’ve written about, this was the one begging to come out. To be told.

Korean Skin Care Welcome Box


  1. 1


    Aww.. this makes me tear up. How wonderful and heartbeaking that your mom had to miss so much for her family. It’s never easy, the sacrifices we make. I’m so glad you remember the moments she sat on your bed along with the games she missed.

    • 2

      Miranda says

      You know? We made the best of it. And that stint of her working life didn’t last forever. She never missed a production I was in or a concert or an awards ceremony. At least not that I remember. A few softball games here and there? I’m okay with. I was never great at that anyway :)

  2. 3


    Also? This makes me think of all the times Craig sneaks into the kids’ rooms when he gets home late, especially during football season. I hold my breath and threaten his life if he wakes them up, but now… it makes me think I should lighten up because maybe they need those moments as much as he does.

    I’m done now. :)

    • 4

      Miranda says

      When I’d get home on Friday nights after football games, I always wished I could go snuggle Joshua. Those were the nights I didn’t mind getting up with him. He was so content in the middle of the night.

  3. 7


    I have no idea why I’m crying reading this. But it’s wonderful story & you wrote it beautifully so I could just picture it.

  4. 9

    Mama says

    So true! You have no idea how many times I sat by your bed just watching you breathe and sleep. Let me tell you the story of when you were only one month old and I took a promotion to make a better living for us. I moved from Charleston to North Carolina and you stayed with Meemaw and Peepaw until I could get settled, find a place to live and a daycare. I remember finally getting the chance to come home and see you. I drove for 8 hrs without stopping except for the necessary stops. As I got closer to home (maybe 20 miles or so) I remember having to use the bathroom sooooooo bad, have you ever drove and peed in a cup? Well I have, and it was only because I was so close, so close to holding you in my arms and smelling you, just loving you like I’ve never loved anyone before. Well I finally made it to meemaw’s and low and behold she dared me to wake you! After all that I did to get to you and she wouldn’t even let me pick you up. She and I are extremely close today because, not only because we are sisters but that she stepped in, in a time in our lives when we needed a little assistance. We were never apart again until you started going to pops’ and spending the night with your friends. Even today, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for you, you were the beginning of a new life for me and for that I am grateful. I love you!

    • 18

      Miranda says

      Just so you know, we certainly had our rough moments. And one day the prompt will be right for me to share those here. So you and your daughter might have those moments, too. Brace yourself! :)

      But yes, we’re very, very lucky to have each other.

  5. 23


    The love, the calm, the connection. breath-taking, really.

    I love this part: “But most of the time, she was just quiet. Still. Present. She watched me sleep. Listened to me breathe. Like she was centering herself with my peacefulness.She found the calm in her soul.”

    It’s pure poetry.

  6. 26


    Found the link through twitter.. so glad I came over.

    Beautiful writing. It reminds me of all the nights I knew my grandfather would come in and tell me by as he left for the night shift. It never failed, regardless of how old I was, he kissed me goodbye before he left for work. I still remember that.

    • 27

      Miranda says

      Love is in the little things. I believe that. Love is not grand gestures found in the movies. It’s in the details.

    • 29

      Miranda says

      Thank you, Elaine. In the midst of the worst of everything postpartum there was always something calming about my mother’s presence. Just having her here sitting with me made me feel okay.

  7. 30


    This is awesome…but I was thinking as I was reading, “I wonder if her mom will read this”. And then I saw the comment from her…it’s even sweeter knowing that she did read it and had her own story to tell. Love it :)

  8. 32


    Moms have that special sixth sense and always know what we need and when we need it.

    I think that you did a good job with the post and that it fit the prompt well!

  9. 34


    oh miranda…isn’t it funny how we don’t realize so much when we are receiving the mothering…but now? as mothers? so much makes sense. so much love. so much…soul-comforting.

    this epitomizes that.


    • 35

      Miranda says

      It is. It’s this thing that you don’t understand all the way when you are being mothered. Or even at all.

      My mom? My soul comforter.

  10. 38


    Oh, Miranda. I love this. In my foggy memories of childhood I remember my mother sitting on the side of my bed. I would drift in and out of sleep but I knew she was there. Wiping my bangs away from my eyes. Making sure I was snug as a bug in a rug.

    Now I do the same for Landon & Brigham. I always always spend some time with both of them after they have drifted off to dream land. I love watching them while they sleep, looking at their chest rise and fall. They are just so peaceful and I think a part of me wishes I could ever sleep that peacefully again.

    Last night I actually went into Landon’s room and just laid there beside him, silently crying. I didn’t wake him. I just sat there and cried and prayed that I won’t have to spend time away from him. Because that is my fear right now.

    • 39

      Miranda says

      Don’t be afraid, Molly. Don’t be afraid. Even if you do have to spend time away, know that you are doing it so that you can love them more.

      I’m here if you need me.

  11. 40


    this was beautiful… I wonder if this is similar to how my toddler will feel down the road about her Papa… Hubs is a night-shift cop, and we only see him 7 of every 14 days because of his schedule… he goes into her room to check on her as soon as he gets home in the mornings, and whenever possible stays awake long enough to be able to at least give her a “good morning” hug and kiss… your post brought me to tears, and I too – often will watch Goose sleep, or snuggle up next to her if she’s restless and just breathe her in… she calms my soul, and warms my heart… she is my heart. thank you for sharing.

    • 41

      Miranda says

      She might. Of my childhood memories of my mom, these are some of my best. It was just us, and then it wasn’t just us anymore. But in those moments, it was just us again.

      and Joshua? Is my heart.

  12. 42


    It was beautiful, beginning to end…..and then seeing your mom commented…WOW! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story of affection, and love.

  13. 44


    Oh this? Is purely beautiful. I’m in tears between your writing and your mama’s comment. You have such a beautiful eloquent style of writing that just gets me every time.

    Growing up we don’t realize what our mothers do for us, the love that they share, the calm that they offer. But now? As mothers ourselves? It all makes sense. This captures it beautifully.

    • 45

      Miranda says

      Gah! NO CRYING IN BASEBALL, y’all! LOL.

      And no, we don’t. And I don’t think you even have to be a mother to see the sacrifice, but you do have to be older and removed from that moment.

  14. 48


    oh see, now, I had a whole different comment in mine before your mom commented…

    now all I can do is feel the tears fall and my heart feel all full inside, not just for you, but for the love she’s talking about.

    thank you for this.

    • 49

      Miranda says

      And now I want to know what your other comment was!

      But yes, a full heart. That’s how this post makes me feel, too.

  15. 50

    Gwen says

    One of my favorite songs — “Love Is the Key” — has a line that says, “Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again, and there’s love” — I think that line would be equally powerful and equally true if it said, “Children draw their lives from moms and give it back and again, and there’s love.” Miranda, your post captured this sentiment in such a personal way. We do, indeed, draw life from our children; indeed, we often live life because of our children. Your voice in writing is so wonderful.

    • 51

      Miranda says

      We do, you know? I live because of Joshua. For Joshua. The minute I became a mother, I wasn’t living for myself anymore.

      Thanks for the compliment.

    • 53

      Miranda says

      There’s something really, really calming and peaceful about that breathing. Like the world regulates itself upon it.

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