Of Hopes, Dreams and Wishes and The Challenge of Being My Mother’s Daughter …

The greatest challenge of having been my mother’s daughter was trying to please her and feeling that I always failed. My mother always seemed anxious and/or sad. She was always working.

And this was after she had come home from having worked as a teacher in the nearby elementary school. She made all my dresses and the pants I wore until I graduated high school and went to college.

She planted a garden in spring and harvest the vegetable during the summer

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Of Vipassana, Abandoned Dreams, and “The Map of True Places” …

I ended my last blog asking readers, “Are you a Tiger Mom? Cheetah Mom? A fierce feline mother of great prowess? If so, what is your story?
What hopes and dreams do you hold for your daughters and/or sons?
What are your passions?
Are and if so, how are you living them out?”

On reading the last three questions I realized that I had segued into new territory.

The hopes and dreams we hold for our children lie

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Of Hopes, Dreams, and Cheetah Mamas …

Now a mother of three daughters, a licensed psychotherapist and an author, I still lean back in awe at how much emphasis individuals of certain cultures, African-American included, place upon the success of our children.

Some weekends ago I attended the Senior Recognition Ceremony held each year by hundreds of Jack-n-Jill Chapters across the country, honoring the children of mother-members who having and preparing to graduate high school will in less than three months, leave for college.

Conversations during the meal, as usual, included

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Of Elisabeth Badinter, Slavery, and The Choice to Work Full-time as a Wife and Mother …

Perhaps the eleven Secret Service Agents and nine military personnel who engaged in unbecoming behavior down in Cartagena, Colombia, that put themselves in danger, not to mention others under their care, felt exploited, and most unconsciously.

We’re often told of the great service these agents provide our Presidents.

We’re also led to believe that the tasks they carry out involve much bravado and that the work is exciting, nothing short of glamorous.

Their recent behaviors speak otherwise, actions I am certain

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Of Daughters, Mothering, and The Willingness to Turn Inward…

One of the most difficult aspects of being a mother is the requirement of self-reflectiveness.

As mothers we need to be able to look back upon ourselves, most particularly our time as children, and recall the difficulties and fears we faced in order to remain connected with our children.

Our willingness to do this is most particularly effective in nurturing our daughters.

“[D]aughters can model a great deal from a mother who is self-aware herself,” says Juanita Johnson in, Know Thyself First(Part 6 of Our Mothers, Ourselves: Mother-Daughter Relationships)

I address this at length in the blog post, Of Daughters, Actions and Self-Awareness.

While sons are

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…the writing life… | “Bollywood, The Hijinks of Thrillers, and Definition…”

I am always amazed how much screen time Bollywood movies donate to establishing and clarifying family relations of the film’s protagonist compared to the nil to absent mention of family connections in American movies.

The protagonist of an American made movie can be undergoing the direst and most despairing of circumstances and the screenplay makes no mention of mother, father, sister, or brother. Often very little time or explanation is given to the ex-spouse or ex-significant other, unless she or he is central to the plot.

Where Bollywood movies perhaps overdramatize the gifts and goodness of family, American theater emphasizes the need to break away and discover who one truly is.

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…Married Life-why i write… | “Antonya Nelson, Escapism, and The New Frontier…”

During a recent interview for The Writer Magazine, short story writer, Antonya Nelson, also dubbed, “…master of domestic drama…” received the received the statement, “…your work focuses on family-centered problems. Sue Miller has said men used to light out for the territories, but that ‘home’ is the new frontier.”

To the interviewer, Sarah Anne Johnson’s question, “Do you agree?” Nelson responded, “I write about families because that’s what I know. I’m very glad other writers are writing about other things and places, adventures abroad, wars and plagues and science and zombies. But what I know intimately, what I can report on honestly, what I think about endlessly, is the relations among people who are attached to one another helplessly by faithfulness and need, as well as wrestling a contrary urge to be individuals. Family dramas are always positing the self vs. community, private vs. the public, and most importantly, the head vs. the heart.”
–A Gift for the Short Form, by Sarah Anne Johnson, The Writer Magazine, September 2010

Reading this I knew immediately that Antonya Nelson was someone whose work I needed to start reading, not simply and so much from my perspective as a writer, but as a person who loves reading about families working it out, trying to work it out, sometimes, and oftentimes failing to work it out.

I am also a writer, who as a wife of 28 years and mother of 3, ages 11, 18, and 23, continually ponders and explores the nature of the marriage relationship, connections that spin and sprout from this union and how ripples in this union spread to those interactions of family members surrounding them.

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