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“What my mother and I don’t talk about!”

By Michele Filgate

I picked this one because, in some ways, I was hoping it will help me accept my own twisted once an emotionally dependent relationship with my mother. I am the oldest of the three siblings. Therefore, for many reasons, I believe that I was the tester kid of my parents. I feel like their parenting styles changed when it came to my younger brother and sister. Then again, there were other factors influencing the not-so-productive parenting tricks and not just the sad outcomes measured by my 37 years-long existence. And so I wanted to read about others and their parents. I wanted to understand why it is so difficult for us to critically evaluate and therefore evolve our own lives. But somehow easier to read about others and learn from them. And to an extent, I think the book does a good job at that.

The book has 15 essays by authors from different worlds that are unique from each other in many ways. But with a common thread of lingering love. I don’t want to talk too much about the essays, because if the title intrigues you, then you must read the book. I did like it a lot. And can say, it has helped me understand my own mom a little better. Moreover, I am consciously trying to do things differently as a mom when it comes to raising my kids.

If I could point out one thing that struck me as dated, was the fact that every essay highlighted the negative aspects of a divorce. I mean, I belong to a society where divorce is common. And just like not every marriage is a happy one, not every divorce means a fractured home. Even the toughest fractures can be fixed, all you need is a good orthopedic surgeon. I wish they bring out a sequel to this book, with more current stories. Where we accept divorce as a sensible step for the family and children. The one where the family applauds their children for coming out to them. Stories about how a family is being redefined by the new generation. I want to read more evolved stories in the sequel. Hoping we learned something from the stories of the earlier one.

I am a forever confused, anxious, and paranoid mother, who is browsing through the internet awake late at night for ways to be a parent. My daughters are loud, affirmative, and brave, so much unlike me. And so, I keep reading and trying new ways to give them more room to grow into the individuals they aspire to be. Different style of parenting is not enough, I want to evolve. And, whether it is right or wrong, time will tell. Or their therapist will in a few years.

I was once gentle,

I was once naïve

I was once little

I was once frightened

You held me close

And led the way

Now

Old paths are long gone

I am evolving with the world

Brave enough to unlearn what was once a way of life.

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