06 March 2011

Post 344: Lift

Lift by Kelly Corrigan. ISBN: 9781401395056 (eBook).

I love my mother.

She makes it almost impossible some days, because we are both incredibly hard headed. Strangely, we manage to be hard headed in completely different ways. I like to do things alone, to work out my own problems, and to work with people I know I can rely on and/or am reasonably sure I have some control over. My mother likes to forge ahead into projects without doing much research in advance, working out problems as they come up instead of anticipating them. She sees instructions more as guidelines, and gives a lot more faith to minions coworkers or underlings than I am likely to extend. What can I say, occasionally astrology fits, and I am most definitely a Capricorn.

This gets us into trouble. We also have things we are adamant about not talking about. For me, it's my present. My present is a big dark hole of suck right now with no foreseeable end or way across. I am circling the drain of disaster and I'm not sure if or when someone is going to add a little more water to the sink, stopper it back up, or just let me slide down into nothingness. On the other hand, it's the only thing my mother wants to talk about because she's obviously (and rightly) concerned about it. The problem: it's the last thing I want to think about and I especially don't want someone in, uh, her stage of life telling me how to "fix things." We are in different professions and we have had different crises hit at completely different times in our lives. Even if her advice is valuable, it is a big, hard, gag-inducing horse pill to swallow. Basically, I don't want my mother giving me advice or telling me to go do this or go do that or talk to these people who help people find 100k a year jobs.

ARGH! I know you think highly of me, but librarianship is not a 100k a year job, these people are not going to help me!

On the other hand, my mother refuses to talk about her past. And to some point this is why I don't want to talk to her about my present. It is impossible for me to see my mother as a 26 year-old because I never knew her as such. By the time I was reasonably aware, my mother had a well-established home and family and "I have no business knowing about who she was before that happened." She treats her past as some kind of sacred thing that I have no right to, and maybe I don't, but she's cheating me and herself out of a much closer relationship.

My mother will probably never write a letter like Corrigan's, one in which she exposes all the uncertainties of parenthood, all the nagging questions: "Am I good enough to be a parent, am I doing this right?" But I very much wish she would. I would prefer that she sit me down one day and tell me how much of a hellion teenager she was, or how scared she went on her first date, so that I can have those memories of her and ask questions. I know she won't ever share those with me, but I wish I had more to tell my nephew about his grandmother than, "She was a nurse, we moved a lot, and she was angry all the time up until she divorced her husband. Then she calmed down, got really interested in drinking good wine, quilting, yoga, and feeding stray cats. Nope, sorry, I know nothing about her before the age of 35."

At the very least, I wish she would write me a letter, so I have something. Some days, I just look at photos of her from before I was born, and I have no idea who she is.

You get no review for this one because there's no way to do it without it sounding more saccharine and trivial than it really is. Some works are short enough to just be read.
LibsNote: Digital copy checked out from my library via Overdrive Media.

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