Saturday, February 03, 2007

Support Systems

There was a column in the local paper today written by a woman who phoned her mother every day. I could really relate to this because I do, too. When she talked about trying to adjust to the loss of the daily phone call after her mother's death...well, let's just say my eyes were not dry.

I started calling my Mom every day after I had my first child. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, so none of them were home during the day. Mom was. None of them knew what having a baby was like. Mom did.

Why do I still call her everyday?

First, because I enjoy it. Talking to my mom always makes me feel good, and we usually wind up having a few laughs.

No matter what else is happening in the wacky business of writing, she always makes me feel that I know what I'm doing, and that I'm good at what I do. Well, so do my husband and my kids, but she's also full of life wisdom, able to give me a broader perspective.

I owe a good chunk of my writing career to her, too. When I was upset about something somebody had done at school, she'd often ask me, "Why do you think they did that?" In other words, what was their motivation? A good part of my job now is figuring out my characters' motivations, so thanks, Mom!

She also always used to say, because I got teased a lot, that I had to learn to deal with it, because everywhere I went, there would be people like that -- a piece of advice that's seen me through some bad reviews. Well, that and her peeved sighs, and assurances that that reviewer just had an ax to grind or some other comforting thing.

Friends are wonderful, but they have busy lives, too. Sometimes, it's not easy to explain why you're discouraged about something, because to really get the angst across, you have to give a little seminar on how publishing works. My mother knows as much about publishing as I do. She's been learning right along with me.

Other writers can empathize, but I'm going to confess here that some of the most mean-spirited and hurtful comments I've ever had about my career have come from other writers. My mom has never hurt my feelings, or insulted me.

That's another reason I call her every day, but what it all boils down to is, I like it. And because, for the reasons I've stated and more, I love her.


sharon said...

Your are very fortunate to have your mother to speak to daily. I envy you and cherish this special time since it is precious and wonderful. Mine is gone and I miss her dearly and am sorry that I did not speak daily.

Margaret Moore said...

Sharon, it helps that my mom lives in the same city, so I'm not calling long distance, and I work at home, so I can call anytime in the day.

I do appreciate, though, what a rare and wonderful relationship my mom and I, and I hope my daughter and I continue to have a wonderful relationship, too.

Mary F. said...

As Sharon said, you are fortunate. My mother has been gone for 60 years and yet, I find I often still make decisions, evaluations and chart my own path according to what I learned from the way she lived her life. Whether this is because I still want her to be proud of me or not, I cannot say, but I do know that even after all these years, I still cherish the 16 years I had with her. Thank you for writing this.

Kimber said...

I'm assuming you come from a small family.

I talk to my mom once a week but then, I'm one of six kids. Plus my mom is one of five kids. On top of that, people keep reproducing (not me).

So if we all talked to her daily, she wouldn't get anything else done. And my dear mom needs her sleep.