Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mothers and Daughters

A few months ago I finished an editing job on a book written by an extraordinary lady who wanted to leave her life story for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jean had so many successes in her life, not least of which was as a teacher and as a parent. She hasn't finished those successes yet, even at well into her 80s and living with multiple sclerosis for the past three decades or so. I think she still has things to do and by gosh, she's going to do them as fast, and as well, as she possibly can.

She is a lot like the lady for whom I did a similar book a couple of years ago. She too was remarkable for her accomplishments and her indominable spirit. She had been writing her book in her head for almost five years when she and I got together to get it written, edited and into the hands of her children and grandchildren. She too had things to do and was doing them as fast and as well as she possibly could. Ginger died a few months shy of her latest big event, her own 90th birthday extravaganza, but until the last few days of her life, her mind was on that goal, planning it down to the last detail. That party went on and every minute was a tribute to her and her extraordinary life.

It occurred to me that both Jean and Ginger have/had daughters who were extraordinary themselves -- successful in their professional lives, raising (or having raised) remarkable children, and who were members of large and close extended families. Both daughters are intelligent, confident, capable and dedicated, gifts both of good genes and good parenting. They are really interesting to watch and even more interesting with to be involved with them during the production of their mothers' books.

Yesterday I had an insight:  every mother should have a daughter (or child) who thinks she is almost a superhero (if not totally convinced she is), and every daughter (or child) should have a mother who continually inspires her.

It isn't just about Jean and Ann, Ginger and Ellen, it's about a lot of mothers and daughters that I know. Oh, I am sure that each had or has gripes about the other from time to time; I don't think it's possible to have a real relationship without a little friction.  Still, I think that when push comes to shove, each will be there for the other, for as long as they live. Even when the mother is gone, there's always the memory and example to enable the daughter to go on with head held high, proud to be able to say that they had a great mother and friend.

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