Monday, October 15, 2012

Daisy and Me

By Josi

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.


  1. I thought motherhood was hard when I was running on little sleep and had to deal with crying, diapers, and endless days of feeling like everything was a vicious circle. But motherhood is much different with teens, and much harder in pretty much every way. And I agree, that there are some things I want to "do-over" but then I realize I'm still ME and I'd probably do it the same for the most part even if I had a crystal ball. My personality is what it is, and even as I grow and improve, I still have strong convictions about certain things as far as the balance between raising kids and being an individual woman away from the mom stuff.

  2. Of the three books that are out now, DAISY is the one that touched me the most. I cried multiple times. And I don't usually cry when I read.

    My sister has asked me why. I didn't have an answer, because, like you, I really don't have a lot in common with her. Except for the wishing the kids would grow up faster, then realizing I wanted a do-over. But the biggest thing I have in common with her, and you put it into words so well is "the biggest question of all—can I be better than I’ve been?"

    I'm still adjusting to the empty nest situation and missing my children, learning to be a grandmother, and trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I don't have a lot of regrets because life is what it is, but I do want to be better.

    Thanks for the post, and the book. :)