Friday, October 16, 2015

My Mother, My Cheerleader

My mother recently bought me Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

“I’ll send it to you,” she said. “After I’m done reading it.”

I had to laugh. My mother’s been a lawyer for all of her adult life. This means pantsuits, a name plate and a private office, her own secretary. Most of her time is spent at her desk, in her chair, on her computer.

She balked when I got out of college and worked odd jobs, farming, tutoring, baking, writing. I started and abandoned business projects. I moved around, taking housesitting gigs and living in my tent when necessary.

“Don’t you want something steady?” she asked. “A retirement plan?”

“Hell no,” I said, running headfirst into the next thing.

The truth is, I could never do what she does, and she could never do what I do. And that’s okay. (Strangely enough, I used to love spending time at my mother’s office when I was a kid. So many office supplies! Rolly chairs! Sugar packets in the tiny kitchen! My dream was to be a secretary and tap on keyboards with long nails while talking on the phone all day.)

That being said - my mother is my strongest cheerleader. She doesn't really understand what I do, but she always stands behind me no matter what. Without her support, this path would be harder than it already is.

Differences are places for conflict, but they are also places for compassion and growth. My mom and I engage with the world in very different ways, and yet, we have much to learn by stepping into each other’s shoes from time to time.

I probably won’t have time to read Big Magic until grad school is over… But I’m really glad my mom is reading it! Perhaps learning about creativity will help my mama understand the world I inhabit on a daily basis. Reading this book might give her some insight into the inner workings of weird “artistic” types like myself. And who knows, maybe she’ll be inspired to dip her toe into some “creative living beyond fear”!