The first book I read/reviewed this week, Love, Ellen: A Mother/Daughter Journey by Betty Degeneres, supported several of my long held beliefs. Her initial reaction to her young daughter's "coming out" showed both vulnerability and strength. Like most parents, when she noticed tears in her daughter's eyes, her first reaction was to comfort her. We, as parents, automatically want to "make it better." We will fight the biggest monsters to save out children because we realize early on that their smiles are what light up many of our days.
Even as she wiped Ellen's tears though, she began to feel the loss of her own fantasy. Her thoughts went to the disappointment at never seeing her daughter's picture on the engagement page of their local newspaper. From the moment a child is placed into the arms of a waiting parent, that parent begins seeing a perfect future. Some parents put their children on lists for the "right" pre-school before the child is brought home from the hospital. We picture high school and college graduations, sometimes law school or med school graduations, and brides with long flowing gowns. We picture successful careers and beautiful grandchildren to spoil some day. Those, however, are our fantasies and often fit nowhere into our children's dreams.
That is okay, because all we really want is for our children to find happiness, and happiness comes in oh so many shapes and sizes. Betty soon got over her disappointment, and spends her days working for The Human Rights Campaign's Coming Out Project. The best way to help our children find happiness is to support their dreams instead of our own.
My generation grew up believing that you aren't complete until you find AND MARRY your "soulmate." We were supposed to choose our perfect companion before we were old enough to responsibly pick a car, and many of my generation suffered the consequences. The divorce rate is over 50%, and many others continue to live in unhappy marriages. Our children are a bit wiser. They are not trying to beat the clock, and they marry only when they feel ready. Their parents don't seem to have as much patience. In any gathering of baby boomers, you will find mother's busily exchanging phone numbers of their children as they try to find their child a partner. Their dreams are not your dreams folks. Let them live the lives they choose and be happy for them.
The second book I read, Heaven to Betsy (What Doesn't Kill You, #5): An Emily Romantic Mystery by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, begins with an annoying mother, but quickly evolves into a murder mystery. Criminal-attorney Jack Holden hires Emily to help him track down a murderer and a missing child. Although it got complicated in parts, it was a basically good read for those who enjoy cozy mysteries.
As always, complete reviews of both books will follow this blog.