I get asked a lot if my life is like
that of my characters. For the most part, it isn’t, and that applies to Daisy.
I did not get pregnant as a teenager, I have never been divorced, I’m not a
snazzy dresser who gets my hair done regularly, I don’t have a career like she
does, I didn’t take my kids to daycare, I’m not catholic, I have not left the faith
of my youth, I have a good relationship with my parents, and I will not have
any ‘surprise’ children—a hysterectomy guaranteed that. For the most part,
Daisy and I are very different women. But there are some similarities.
I am blonde, I like to keep my hair long, I drive a red Prius, I have daughters,
I am ambitious, and I have had my struggles with my role as a mother. I might
go into more detail on that in another post, but in a nutshell I thought I
would “enjoy” motherhood more than I do. I feel all squirmy inside to say that,
because I don’t want it to reflect negatively on my children or call in to
question whether I’m happy with my choices in regard to motherhood—my kids are
great and I wouldn’t change my role for anything in the world. But motherhood
is waaaaay harder than I expected to be, and not nearly as fun as I had hoped
it would be. Daisy feels the same way, and though her journey as a mother has
had much more angst and complexity than mine has, as I wrote her feelings about
waiting for her role to be done, they were reflective of the same things I have
felt at times over the last 20 years.
In the story, Daisy experiences a change and though hers is more forced than mine,
I’ve experienced some similarities. For many years I have counted down for my
kids to start leaving home. I once saw a sign that said “Dear kids, check out
is at 18” and I wanted one of my own. I anticipated all this freedom and less
things to worry about all my insecurities associated with my role as mother
would go away. About five years ago my husband said “Do you realize that we
only have 5 Christmases with Breanna at home.” We were lying in bed and I think
my heart stopped for a second. It was the first of many times since that I felt
this panic of “The end.” And my feelings toward motherhood shifted a little
bit. It shifted some more when I ended up making some connections to my own
withdrawal at times from my family—therapy can be a very eye-opening
experience. For the last two years I’ve felt the time my daughter leaves
creeping up on me and I have found myself wishing I could have a do-over. I’ve
wondered how much I missed because I didn’t love it and was counting down for
it to be over with. I’m not one to swim in regrets, my journey is my journey
and I have learned much through my time at the University of Mom. But writing
Daisy was a very personal journey for me. It’s a story of a woman who has
worked hard and done everything she needed to do without looking back, without
questioning herself, and then she gets thrown into the biggest question of
all—can I be better than I’ve been?
Though my trials aren’t the same as Daisy’s, I know that everyone has those pinnacle
moments of life when they find themselves reevaluating, questioning, wondering
at what’s happened and where it might take them. They can be scary moments.
Sometimes the answers are right there waiting for us, but more often than not
we have to make changes and compromises and dig deep to get through those
things. Sometimes we end up in a completely different place than we started at.
It’s my hope that Daisy’s story will reflect that process that all of us go through.
It’s my hope that watching the other members of the book club help her and lift
her up will reflect the need we all have for friends when we face our own
demons. It’s my hope that even if you don’t agree with who Daisy is or what she chooses to do with her future, you will understand her and learn something from
her. She taught me a whole lot.
My daughter started college in June, living on campus an hour from home. It’s been far harder than I expected it to be but I am attempting to learn everything I can from the
experience and use it to be the mom I never thought I’d be. My role as Mom has
taken on a lot of new dimension over the last little while and I'm anticipating
even more of that in the future. Which is a good thing. People often say they
learn a lot from their children, I have certainly learned a lot from raising
them and I anticipate many more lessons ahead.