I am so excited to get to write another post! My fingers have been itching to be let out of captivity and start dancing across my keyboard again. It seems like there's always so much ELSE to do that gets in the way of what I love doing the best. I'm retired and should be doing stuff I love to do, and I do, just not enough. Waa Waa! Poor me, right?
I am listening to a book on CD by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor called "Traveling Pomegranates". It's addresses a lot of great topics, with the theme of mothers and daughters running through. I am loving it.
If you don't know who Sue Monk Kidd is, you should. She's the author of "The Secret Life of Bees" (she tells in the book I'm reading how she got the inspiration for the Bees book--so interesting).
She also wrote "The Mermaid Chair" which I have read more than once. "The Secret Life of Bees" was made into a movie with an outstanding cast: Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes and Sophie Okonedo. Great movie. See it! Both books are kind of coming-of[-age books as they have an adolescent girl but also about how adults come of age, too. They very honestly explore feelings and issues of the times. "The Bees" also has quite a few racial references as it takes place in the South in the 60's (I think).
Boy, did I ever digress! "Traveling Pomegranates" is really touching me in some interesting ways. When she wrote it (15 years ago), Sue was on the verge of turning 50. She and her daughter took a trip to Greece to celebrate Sue's birthday and her daughter, Ann's college graduation. As Sue contemplates all the life changes that she's experiencing as she turns 50--menopause, finding purpose in life, etc. her daughter is battling depression due to her having problems finding her purpose, too. The dance around it for a while and finally have a tender heart-to-heart as they share their fears and challenges. I can't remember the great witticisms that I enjoyed in the book, of course, but it got me thinking of a lot of things in my own life and with my own daughter.
I was thinking back the other day of something my sister told me recently. She actually told me about 30 years ago but I didn't believe her. She wanted to giver her 10 year old daughter--temporarily--to us. She said I laughed, not really taking her seriously. I don't know if it would have really happened, but now I wish she would ask me again! I'd take her for sure. She's now a lovely woman with 3 adorable daughters of her own. Over the years we've become close so she is almost my daughter anyway. But, back then I don't think it would have done my niece any good to live with us. I didn't have kids of my own yet and I was afraid of raising a little girl. Even when we started a family I didn't think I wanted a girl. It had a lot to do with my lagging self-image as a person and especially as a female. As a kid I was the youngest of four and thought by my older sisters to have everything I ever needed. I guess I didn't because I really didn't like myself at all. In fact, only in recent years have I felt comfortable with who I am. I felt small and insignificant. I felt out of place everywhere. That's probably why I developed a sense of humor and the ability to entertain. I felt like if I didn't do that, I wouldn't be noticed. I also had the youngest child thing about feeling responsible for making everyone in my family happy. I felt that it was up to me to fix them.
Now here's the BIG BUT. . . . BUT I changed a lot as I grew into an adult. Now that I'm 60, I can look back and see how things changed, slowly, over time. And that's the way a lot of change happens. Life is a journey that takes us all over the place. By the time Emilie was on the way I desperately wanted a daughter. I wore pink whenever I could. I was so overwhelming happy when I heard those three words "It's A Girl"! Emilie has a lot to do with how I feel about myself as a woman because through her I was able to look at some of the obstacles in my own life and work hard to ensure that she didn't have them. Of course, she won't be problem free because we all seem to be quite capable of finding them on our own but she is way ahead of where I was at 25 years old. She is a woman who knows how to take care of herself and to love herself. I've learned so much from her. She's who I wanted to be when I was her age. As I get older our relationship is changing. This is addressed in "Traveling Pomegranates", as well. Sue realizes how her role as a mother changed drastically when her daughter went to college. She says she's now a "receiver" when her daughter talks to her. Not an advice giver or a fixer. That's so true. When they're little and they have a problem they come to mommy to find out what to do. We get so used to giving advice right away that it's hard to slow down the flood! Emilie isn't shy about reminding me that doesn't need my advice so much as she needs me to listen quietly.I like that about her, too. I always know where I stand with her and I always know that she loves me, no matter what. That switch is happening, where the child takes care of the parent. But, as I think back, she's been that way since she was little--always had my back.
I think I'll stop here for now. Thanks for listening!