Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sentimental Fool

I love to read. Most people who blog probably do, I would think. If I have a spare moment, in the dentist's office, check-out line, someone else's house, whatever, I will pick up and read pretty much anything besides the The Wall Street Journal. Historical fiction of the non-sappy variety appeals to me, particularly historical fiction that is loosely based on actual events. I really like biographies, too. But my absolute favorite author, by whom I will read anything published, is Elizabeth Berg. Anybody else love her?
I will grant you, her stuff actually can border on the sentimental quite often, something which normally turns me off. But with her, the sentiment is so genuine and so identifiable that it is no way a Hallmark moment, but a real-life moment, and so you don't feel so stupid to be tearing up over it. She just really has a way of pointing out the little moments in life that actually are life, if you just pay attention. I would say she is the Catherine Newman of fiction.
Anyways, I was thinking of her (Elizabeth Berg) because the thought crossed my mind tonight that I couldn't actually remember what we did before Addy came along, what we talked and thought about. And this particular passage from one of her books ran through my mind (describing the moment when a father hands a newborn to her mother for the first time):
Then, with a tenderness I would not have thought possible in earth-bound humans, he gives her to me. Her wet head is cupped; her quivering chest is calmed. What have my hands been doing all my life before this? I see now that they too have just been born. I unwrap the blanket, stop breathing. -"Until The Real Thing Comes Along"
And it's like that for me. As much as I might complain about the tedium inherent to motherhood, I literally cannot think what my life would be without my child. I try to imagine, to look around this house and picture it without her, and everything is a blank. I feel my son kicking (still such an unexpected thrill, each time) and can't even remember to four and half months back when there was no life inside me.
Always, when I'm tucking Addy in for the night, even the nights when I've been counting down the hours until bedtime, I am suddenly and strangely reluctant to leave her. It feels like leaving behind a limb or something, even though it's a limb that's been on my last nerve all day. I stand there by the crib, in the pinky glow of the night light, and I have a feeling I cannot name. It is this: "There is no me without you."

P.S. And now for something completely unsentimental: Butt Prints


Mommy Daisy said...

LOL! I'm laughing so hard after reading the "Butt Prints" blog post that I forgot what I was going to say to you. Let me collect my thoughts.

Oh yeah, now I'm better (although I still have images in my head that may never leave). I've never read Elizabeth Berg, but I think I would like her books. It actually sounds like the kind of thing I like reading. I just finished 2 series of books by Tracie Peterson. She's a christian author who writes historical fiction. It's very easy reading, but I get into her stories.

You definately described motherhood as I see it. I find myself bored when I don't have to take care of Zachariah. Yes there are other things to do, but I don't feel complete when he's napping or in bed for the night. Oh, and when you're pregnant you forget it all and it seems worth everything in the world. You're a lucky woman to be carrying that little boy right now. Treasure those feelings.

Swistle said...

I love Elizabeth Berg! Except _The Handmaiden and the Carpenter_, which I HATED.

Another author I'm very, very fond of is Maeve Binchy.

Have you tried the Philippa (or is it two Ls and one P?) Gregory historical novels about Henry VIII? I am NEVER interested in history, but I really liked those books. They're racy and extremely tense, and I wouldn't think I'd like them at all, but I did--and furthermore, I can now keep track of all that guy's wives! Yay!

Mid-Life Momentum said...

Now . . . take those feelings you described and enter this equation (with Y as "your maternal feelings")
Y x 18(yrs) x 3

Thus . . . the basis for the "empty nest syndrome" (which is eased somewhat by the "new grandparent" syndrome).

desperate housewife said...

Swistle: I have never read The Handmaiden and the Carpenter. Is that one of her novels or just a short story? Also, yes, I love Phillipa(sp?) Gregory and I have I think three or four of her books. I've also read Maeve Binchy a couple of times- some I like a lot, others kind of fall flat with me. I don't know why.

Swistle said...

_The Handmaiden and the Carpeter_ came out around Christmastime, and it's a short novel about the nativity story. It...didn't work.

I have a few Maeve Binchy books I'm less crazy about. Let's see, I think Echoes is one of them, and The Glass Lake, and some of the newer ones. I like Firefly Summer, Silver Wedding, The Lilac Bus, Light a Penny Candle, This Year It Will Be Different, Circle of Friends, Copper Beech.