Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Welcome to my world!

There are lots of self help books out there, covering every subject in exhaustive detail, and countless professionals who are only too eager to help you through life's difficulties for a handsome fee. But The Portable Mother is something different. It is about what I call Motherlove or Momism: the unique feeling that only a Mother can provide. This is not the best advice, nor the only advice, it is a Mother's advice.

I was 55 when my Mother passed away. I was lucky enough to have known her for so many years. But when she died, I realized I did not know her at all! I only knew my Mother as, my Mother. By the time I was born...she had lived so much of her life that I would never know about. Wait, I thought, come back.

It was only then that I "got" it: you only really understand that you don't know your Mother, after she has died. And the perplexing corollary to that: you understand your Mother only after she has died.

Regardless of our relationship with our Mothers (good, bad, indifferent), we all need a Mother sometimes...because being an adult is hard and downright scary.

My friend, the poet Anne Carson writes me: "Parents giving advice to their children is an age-old form of letters. In the classic tradition it is called "wisdom literature." In West's edition of Hesiod's "Works and Days" he summarises precedents in Sumerian, Akkadian, Ireland, India, Greece and Rome. The usual form is that a father instructs his son or a sage instructs a future king; Hesiod, however, instructs his brother, Perses. Three Roman authors who wrote works to help their children are Cato: De agri cultura, On Farming; Cicero, who wrote De officiis, On Public service; and Macrobius, Somnium Scipionis, Scipio's dream."

Parents trying to teach their children about life brings to mind the inherent difficulty of age trying to talk to youth. Carolyn Heilbrun wrote: "There are few old people who have not wished to tie a young person down, hand and foot, and tell her or him the truth about life. Unfortunately, the young person will not listen, and the old person will inevitably come across as, at best, a tedious bore."

Raising a child is a gift, an enterprise, an adventure. It is a soul business.
So here we go.

3 comments:

Audrey said...

Hello TG! I am wonderfully touched by your blog (all 3 entries so far...). 'Tho my children won't be leaving the nest for quite some time, I look forward to reading your shared wisdom. I treasure my mother more and more as the years pass and I think this is brilliant idea - your legacy that they will appreciate in years to come...best, aud (audball on tPF)

Audrey said...

TG, in thinking about this more, I would love to see your blog as a book - then I could take it around with me and laugh, cry, and pack it into my kids' suitcases when they are off to college. If it were indexed, like it is here in the blog, that would be so helpful! Kind of like Daily Meditations from Mother! LOL!

Maia said...

Hello Mother Liza! I love these blogs. They are very touching. I am 36, single and have no children, but these blogs make me want to be a mother even more - what a lovely and powerful love!