Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mothers and Daughters

My book club met again last night after our long summer hiatus...but instead of meeting at someone's home, we ventured out to a Book Discussion and Signing sponsored by Blue Willow Bookshop. Sue Monk Kid (author of The Secret Life of Bees) and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor have co-written a book called Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Memoir....and they came to Houston on their book tour.

Our group of 8 met for a quick dinner and then an evening of listening to these two women discuss the ins and outs of writing this book...from its conception to the finished product. The book was available for purchase and the long line was available to stand in to get it signed by the authors.

I had my 2 seconds with Sue Monk Kidd and she was a very kind woman...in those 2 seconds. I suspect she won't remember me, but I will remember her. She seemed genuine and unpretentious and still smiling as she signed probably the 250th book of the evening. I asked her if she (pointing to her daughter) was her only child and she responded no, she had a son, much older.....and then I had to move on. Her daughter signed the book and then my turn was over. That has to be exhausting work.

I haven't read the book yet but during the discussion both women read passages from it....enough to know that it is about 2 women, related by birth....one the birthed, one doing the birthing....who are at a threshold in their life. One at the door of entering Older Woman. The other at the door of entering Young Woman, just graduating from college with the future unknown. Menopause, depression, pulling away, crashing together. Mother, daughter.

At one point, Sue Monk Kidd said she was struggling with how to "mother" an adult, after years of being a mother to this child. Well, hello. I am so there. So I am going to dive into this book with the hopes of some revelation.

I have 2 beautiful, intelligent adult daughters....24 and 21. Both have brought me more joy than I could ever have imagined. Both going through different challenges. Both have some of my traits. Some of those good, some of those bad. Both are loved. Both show their love differently. Both are fiercely independent.........as was I. And honestly, I am struggling with how to mother them. I can vividly remember being 19 and thinking....well, I don't need my mother now. (I am not saying this was true...just how I honestly felt at the time.)

Sometimes my daughters still tattle on each other... or one hurts the other's feelings. And I still struggle with whether I am to get in the middle or walk away short of blood. I think they are still testing me to see which one I love the most. I can tell the world....you... I would die for either of them....and certainly die myself if faced with saving only one. I love them both. I like them both. I cannot compare. They are both rare jewels.

What I really want for them is to have each other. They share a childhood. Their memories of their childhood are much more closely related than my memories of their childhood. They share the same DNA. I want them to find who they are and what they are passionate about. And then be flexible enough that they can change their mind as they grow older and their situations change. I want them to have their own children one day....at least two. Because then.....then they will truly know how much I love them.

I no longer need to buy their clothes, wash their clothes, fix their meals, bandage their scrapes, help with their projects or study for tests, carpool them somewhere, plan their birthday parties, cut their hair, take them to the doctor, buy their school supplies, wake them up each morning, tell them to get their bath.....but I love them so much and that is how I showed it for so many years. How do I show it now? Now, when they don't need me.

I am going to dive into this new book with high hopes of relating to this story and coming out of it with some sage advice. Or at the very least feeling like I am amongst a sisterhood going through the same struggle.

P.S. I love the women in my book club. It is a treat to be in their presence. Last night as I was sitting with them at dinner, I had this feeling of being so blessed ....that I can call these women my friends. I kind of stopped and smelled the roses....so to speak.


  1. i need you more now at age 24 than i ever have. you may not have to feed me or do my laundry, but i'm still not done figuring life out... the important stuff at least.

  2. You just chose my next book for me. Thanks! I have 3 kids. My daughter being the oldest at 31. Boys are 27 and 20. You shared some of my thoughts EXACTLY. Relationships with older children change often over time, I think. I could not love them more. Or be prouder of them. Each in a different way.
    Now... to finish the Twilight book which I HATE putting down! Who knew a 54 yr. old woman could enjoy a book about teenagers so much. Picked it up after tons of my 20's and 30's something friends told me I HAD to read it.

  3. That sounds like a wonderful book and just what you need right now. I hope it sheds some light on the subject for you. Your girls are wonderful and they are so lucky to have you. I'm sure they know that.

  4. Oh I still remember us talking about our mothers (twins)....now that I have two grown daughters and 1 grown son....I have the best response..." I have faith in you that you will do the right thing"...that's what my mother told me...ugh...Sometimes I wanted to hear more advice and other times I wanted her to just listen...but I did figure things out. Right or wrong..I learned from my mistakes...and patted myself on the back when I did it right.

    As far as my girls...they are still competing...but are the best of friends....unless they are arguing...LOL

  5. Ok, what you wrote was wonderful and amazing,,,,how your daughter responded,,,made me cry. You are truly blessed, and it is an honor to be your friend.