Yesterday I finished a cute little book called Growing Seasons, by Annie Spiegalman. The subtitle is "half baked gardening tips, cheap advice on marriage, and questionable theories on motherhood." I thoroughly enjoyed it--it was funny and just really good. It is sort of a journal-to-my-son chronicle of the author's experiences during her first two years of motherhood, her job as a film director, her conflicted and volatile relationship with her mother, her changing relationship with her husband, and her experiences with becoming a Master Gardener. These glimpses of her life story are interspersed with her experiences in her garden and her plans for redoing her lawn and back yard.
This book was quite funny and I loved her descriptions of life with a toddler--so accurate and REAL. There is also a painful side to the book in her chronicle of the declining health of her mother. It was unexpected to me (because of how much I laughed through much of the book), to be left with a sense of melancholy and sadness at the end. This is not a criticism of the book. Indeed, it is part of what made her narrative so compelling--it was honest, real, and a true LIFE explored.
A quote I identified with (reflecting on the parenting of her parents):
"It's too bad you have to become a parent yourself to have the curtains open up in your fat, overly critical mind to preview a little movie called 'How my parents survived raising four children and why they did the things they did. Part One.' It's so easy to judge your parents harshly before you yourself have kids. After all my years of whining, analyzing, critiquing, and arrogantly advising my parents on how they should fix their own messy lives, now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I don't think they did such a bad job after all. In fact, the more I experience the 'challenges' of parenthood, the more heroic they look for even sticking around."
This is so true! I am constantly humbled my the experience of seeing some childhood experiences through a totally new lens--I am surprised by how clueless I was that my parents were actually *people* ;-)
Working in groups productively
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