First Draft Collection: Mommy, Tell Me More

Photo by Lina Kivaka on

Mommy, Tell Me More is a short story in a set of short stories I’m writing as a “First Draft Collection.” I’m writing them merely for the satisfying act of finishing something. There are a handful of short stories I’ve started over the years, and I am forcing myself to just complete them: beginning, middle, end. All of these stories need heavy rewrites and editing if I am ever to make them actually good. But the “First Draft Collection” is not about being good. It’s about being DONE.

Mommy Tell Me More is also a story for kids. A mom and her little girl are talking at night. The girl has many questions about things that happen to her mom. Though they are difficult questions to answer, the mom uses storytelling to help her daughter understand why she is sometimes unwell. It is a story about love, understanding and honesty between a parent and child.


It was bedtime, and mommy and her little girl sat in bed talking. The little girl was full of questions, and even though mommy was tired, she loved to answer them all. No matter how long it took.

“Mommy, tell me more about your back, ” the girl asked in their ritual style.

“Well my darling little girl,” mom replied in turn, “There is an old woman who lives down there. She doesn’t like when things move around too much or for too long. So sometimes she puts up a fuss if I spend most of my day moving around the house or the garden. She especially hates it when I bend over too much. It tosses her house about and knocks down the pictures she’s so lovingly put up on her walls. So you can imagine how irritated she gets with me sometimes. But she’s older and set in her ways, so it’s better for me to do what I can to make her feel better when I’ve caused too much of a fuss.”

“That isn’t fair, mommy.”

“Yes I know my dear, but I’ve got to live with the old lady, and she’s got to live with me. So we each take turns doing the things we want to do.”

“Is that why you’ve been in bed all day today?”

“Yes, I had to give the old lady some time to put her things back in order. She should be happy and settled by tomorrow.”

“Mommy, tell me more about your breathing.”

“Well my darling little girl. There is a tiny village full of people who live inside my throat. They built quite a beautiful lane, with the main road going from the top of my neck all the way down to my lungs. You should see the beautiful trees and flowers they’ve planted. Every color imaginable, and the birds and bees love to play in them all day. They like to get together every now and then to have a great, big party. They make food and have dances and play games to win prizes. Sometimes their get-togethers last for too long, and it makes it hard for me to breathe. But I send them a couple of messages that are neatly packaged in the medicine I take, and when they get them, they crack open the large pills and eagerly read my notes. I don’t just tell them I’m having trouble breathing; sometimes I like to send them funny jokes or pretty poems. It softens the blow when they read that their festivities must come to and end. But they always remember how hard it can be for me when they celebrate for too long, so they’re okay to go back home for a little while. Until the next party.”

“But why do they keep getting together if it makes you sick.”

“Sometimes people just need to live dearie, even when they know others are sick. It wouldn’t be fair for me to stop them from getting together every now and then. And they always listen to my messages when I take my medicine. I think it’s because they like my jokes.”

“Mommy, tell me more about your tummy.”

“Well my darling little girl. There is a little troll living in my belly. And he is oh so very picky. I send him so much good food everyday because I know he gets hungry like me, but he is too picky. I think he’s still trying to figure out what he does and does not like to eat. It’s not always so bad, and I don’t get so very irritated with his pickiness. That’s because when he is in a good mood, he and I can enjoy the most fantastic meals together. But sometimes, he ‘s just not having a good day, so no matter what I send him, he’ll be sure to send it back. But we all have bad days, and I try to remember that when he doesn’t like my cooking.”

“That’s not nice, mommy.”

“Yes, I know, but that’s the way it is for me and the troll. I try to focus on the meals we’ve enjoyed together rather than the ones we didn’t.”

“Mommy, tell me more about your eyes.”

“Well my darling little girl. There is a lost princess who gets scared sometimes. She often misses her family, and so she cries and cries so much that her tears spill out from my eyes. She’s made a new home where she is, but sometimes she can’t help missing what is now gone. Sometimes she forgets how wonderful it can be living with a new family.”

“But, mommy, why don’t you ask her to leave? Why doesn’t she just go back home?”

“Well little one, she only gets sad sometimes, and after a while, she remembers she is not alone. She remembers she is part of our family. She has me, and she really enjoys watching you play and sing and dance. So she really doesn’t want to go anywhere, even though she misses her family sometimes.”

“Mommy, tell me more about your head.”

“Well my darling little girl. There is an angry sorcerer in my head who is in a lonely prison. He’s there because he does and thinks and wishes such terrible things, and it is my job to make sure he is never set free. But sometimes, he is so loud that it makes me feel confused, and when I am, he can sometimes escape and take over my mind to make me angry like him. I used to be very bad at fighting him and returning him to prison, but now I’m much better. He can’t escape as much as he did before, and that makes him really angry. But even though he’ll never leave and he’ll sometimes escape even when I’m trying my best to keep him locked up, I know that the world is safer if I guard him closely and make sure he never gets too far away from me.”

“But, mommy aren’t you tired? Can’t daddy watch the prison?”

“Sometimes daddy does help. He is kind and patient and doesn’t get mad when mommy gets taken over by the angry sorcerer. But it’s my job to make sure the sorcerer never escapes, and it’s a job I’m happy to do, even when it’s hard and feels like an impossible task.”

“Mommy, tell me more about your heart.”

“Well my darling little girl. There are twin sisters that live in my heart. One sister is happy all of the time and loves all the beautiful things in the world, just like you. The other sister is sadder and has a hard time letting go of bad things. Sometimes the happy sister helps the sad one feel better, and it is easy for the three of us to get up together to enjoy the day. But sometimes, the sad sister is just too sad, and the three of us have to be alone together for a little while, so she can have time to get better. So we can sort things out as a team.”

“Is that why you stay in your room sometimes? Even when the old lady in your back is okay?”

“Yes my dearie. And on those days, I am so happy for you and daddy because you give me the time to help the happy sister cheer up the sad one.”

“Mommy, sometimes I see you dealing with the old lady, the villagers, the troll, the lost princess, the angry sorcerer and the twin sisters all at once!”

“Yes my darling little girl. Sometimes they all need me all at once. And when those times come, please know that I’m doing everything I can to be here again with you. There’s a lot of things living inside mommy that keep her busy, and sometimes that means mommy has to be alone with them for a while to help them sort out their problems. But I hope you never forget that none of it will ever change how much I love you.”

“I love you too, mommy. Can we keep talking? Or are you tired from dealing with the old lady today?”

“Keep talking my darling little girl. And if I fall asleep while you’re speaking, try and remember what you want to ask me, and we can come back to it again tomorrow night.”




Writer, book nerd and music & singing lover. Find my first poetry eBook, “I Was I” on Amazon Kindle (

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

America 101 — Family

A letter to my daughter

My Three Thousand Speaking Fathers

Parents: An Embodiment Of Unnoticed Sacrifices.

Big woods, Tiny house 08242020

Getting creative with a covid-restricted Christmas / Holiday Season

In Conversation with my Father

I Called My Mom Out On TikTok And It Went Viral

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alexis Williams

Alexis Williams

Writer, book nerd and music & singing lover. Find my first poetry eBook, “I Was I” on Amazon Kindle (

More from Medium

When you don’t know what to say.



Ch.4 The World Within Matthew Backer