Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother-Daughter Stories of secrets, Reflections, Life lessons #2

On my facebook page last month I announced a story contest in honor of The Daughter's Walk my novel about an 1896 mother-daughter journey  walking from Spokane to New York City and the years after. The winners have been chosen!  Each of three will receive a special prize as well as a signed copy of my book.  Runners up were also chosen and their stories will be posted here during the first week in May. They'll receive a signed copy ofThe Daughter's Walk.  Thank you for participating and making this Mother-daughter Day a great story occasion!

A Mother’s reflection on her daughter: by Jill Dyer 

My daughter.  She is a whirlwind of gentleness, boomer-rang emotions, and girlish beauty.  She is a 7 year-old adult in training who is at times wiser than her years and at other moments younger than those same years.  I have a picture hanging in my library of her as an infant.  Actually, it is of us both and I think the thing I adore about the picture is not only the contentedness in my face, but what I remember feeling as that picture was taken.  I am lying back on our old cream couch (bought before I had children or dogs and didn’t know the idiocy of buying a cream couch).  My pregnancy blessed hair falls around me and she is lying, covered in pink, on my chest.  Her eyes are closed and her puckered lips pressed together, pink and perfect.  Her little fist is tightly closed by her chin.  Maybe there have been a thousand other little girl babies who have lain thus on their mother’s chests.  But this time, this moment was mine.  This contentment was born out of always wanting a girl and finding that I was undeservedly given one.  This photograph captured an unusual moment of new-motherhood bliss.  Amidst constant feedings, tug-of-war sibling duties, and sleeplessness, found here is the joy of my journey of the heart expanded to love a tiny someone I am just getting to know. 

I never had a sister.   I always wanted one.  I still do truth be told, although it is a little late for that.  In raising my daughter, my second-born, I wanted to give her a sister.  Someone who would have that easy familial bond that knows the same jokes and can’t help buying her favorite dark chocolate just to make delight her.  Someone whose laugh makes her day brighter and who she’d call at 2 in the morning when life felt like it was bigger than she is.

We had two children after my daughter.  Both boys.  I wouldn’t trade them for any girl I know.  I am smitten with all my children.  However, when I found out my last little baby bump was indeed a boy, I was sad.  I knew full well I would love him for who he is.  But I felt that leaden loss that my daughter didn’t have a sister.  And truly, I felt pressure.  Now I am it.  No sister to lighten the load of female family relationships. No feminine cohort to enjoy Hannah Montana or tea parties.  It’s all on me.  I am not the girliest of girls and maybe that is part of what weights that worry I occasionally carry.

However, I do see the lining in these clouds.  I also get to have a relationship with my magical daughter that is ours alone.  No sister rivalry.  No competition.  We are the girls in this home and we better band together to face our testosterone laden family life.  How thrilling it will be to discover ourselves together.  What does it look like to be mom and daughter?  How will we love and live and have our being together?  What captivating adventures do our lives hold?  As we paint our toes and hike in the woods, what sorts of rare beasts shall we encounter?

Whether you are a mom, a daughter, a sister or a friend, we women have some beautiful sort of life together.  The way our hearts draw threads of intimacy and connection between those we love, as well as the way we plumb our own lives for meaning and significance, displays the heart of God.  O yes, we were certainly made in his image.   Let us live out that image in a charming girlish dance together.
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