Saturday, March 17, 2012

Where Did My Mother's Finger Come From?

One of the things I like about having joined From Left to Write is the idea of writing blogs that are -inspired- by a book, but not necessarily a review of it.  Today, my inspiration comes from:

Thirteen-year-old Meredith yearns to become a teacher but must help support her family, so she travels to the city to work as kitchen help in a doctor's household. Conflicts with the butler, and with Maggie, the doctor's spoiled thirteen-year-old daughter, threaten her job from the start. As Spanish flu sweeps the world and reaches their city, members of the household fall ill one by one. Only Meredith, Maggie and Jack, Maggie's handsome older brother, are left to care for them. Every day the newspaper's list of yesterday's dead adds to Meredith's growing fear. Forced to cope, Meredith finds a strength and maturity beyond her years and shows herself to be a true hero despite her lowly station in the household. As Meredith wrestles with questions of duty and responsibility, she opens the door to a future that she thought had been closed forever.  As a member of GoodReads, I received a free preview copy of Yesterday's Dead by Pat Bourke through their First-Reads Giveaways. All opinions are my own. Get your copy available April 1, 2012!

One of my absolute favorite parts of this book are the words of wisdom from her mother that have stuck with Meredith through out her journey and trials.

Just the other day, a friend was talking about her daughter, who's getting ready to head to college. She was talking about having to tell her about the sacrifices she had had to make in order to give her daughter this opportunity. And then she laughed because when she was younger, she'd sworn to herself that she would never have that kind of conversation with her own kids, yet here she was!

It reminds me that there are both good and bad things we take from own experiences as children growing up-- and that some of both will be passed on to our kids.

As I was getting ready to write this, I remember something my mother said to me when I was about 14 after I'd done something worth getting on to me about. She was shaking her finger at me and scolding me when she suddenly stopped and asked, "Where did my mother's finger come from?"

And not two months ago, while I was scolding my oldest and my own finger started wagging, I found myself catching it up in my other hand and asking the same question, with an addition, "Where did my mother's finger come from?.... Or I guess it'd be my Grandma's finger..."

And then I shared the same story with my son and we both laughed. I anticipate at some point in his future, my boy will catch himself shaking his finger at one of his offspring while reprimanding them and, noticing, ask the same question (;

One of my fondest memories are sharing silly moments with my mother. Yup, we were the family doing the bunny hop down the grocery store isle. Or the cha cha. Or the conga. And singing out the blue. Sometimes changing the words to popular tunes to suit the current situation. All of them, I believe, were a lesson from my mother to remember to enjoy life. I would say that it is largely due to her outlook that I'm more of an optimist than a pessimist. And more prone to laughing that crying when a situation leaves you with only those two options. I can only hope that all of this is a legacy that I'm passing on to my two little boys as well.

Every now and then, I hear my mother's voice reminding me to count to 10 when I get upset. Or that if I don't have anything nice to say, it's better not to speak at all. And when I'm boiling eggs, I remember in my mother's voice the instructions-- cover them with water, put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat off and let them sit for 20 minutes so the yolks don't turn green. To be honest, when ever I'm making dishes I learned from my mother, I tend to remember the directions in her voice.

And it makes me wonder if every now and then, when I'm not present, my boys hear my voice offering up words of wisdom that might help them with their current situation.

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