Today is my Mom’s birthday. And it’s a milestone. But for fear of her killing me for plastering it all over the internet, I’ll just tell you it’s one of those milestones where she can do nothing but grow more beautiful and fabulous as the years move forward.
Seeing as how May not only brings her birthday, but Mother’s day as well, I wanted to take a day to honor her. This year is a little rougher than usual on my family with my Grandmother being gone, but I hope through my sharing of these novels, my Mom will see how much I want to be just like her. Because she’s just like my Grandma, and I want nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of these beautiful, amazing, and God-loving women.
Here are ten stories that make me think about my relationship with my Mother–and how I hope to someday have this kind of relationship with my own, future daughter.
When I read books about strong Mothers, I always think of my Mom. I’ve known her for about 26 years now, and I can’t really think of a moment when she hasn’t shown strength. Life often deals hands that sometimes we aren’t ready for. I should say always in my case–I’m never ready for anything. My Mom though, she handles things with a resolve that I pine for. But the thing is, I know where she draws her strength from, and who showed her the way to that strength. And it’s because of those two women that I am able to find strength to face my own hard days. Both Ivy’s and Taylor’s Moms face one of those hands where strength isn’t really an option. But in times when you need a read for a little bit of courage, Ivy in the Shadows and Second Chance Summer are two books I’d pick up in a heartbeat. Both feature a mother-daughter relationship that speaks of courage and learning from one another.
Sacrifice is one of those common themes when I think about parenting. But sometimes amongst the world of MG/YA Lit, there are a few mothers who seem to sacrifice just a little bit more than normal. And it’s often in those moms where I see my own. Both A Wrinkle in Time and the Divergent series feature mothers who are not only strong and courageous, but very giving of themselves. I’m sure that when I become a parent, I will learn the true meaning of sacrifice, but until then, I look to my Mom. She instilled such values in me, that I understand the ultimate sacrifice, but I also see how so many times she gave things up for my brother and I–so we could do something at school or just be happy. I’ve promised her that when I sell my multimillion dollar book, I’ll give back to her. A trip to Hawaii and a huge house… and pretty much anything else she wants since she raised me for 18 years and then some…
I love it when mother-daughter stories feature a relationship where the ladies share a common interest, such as ancient Egyptian history with the Theodosia Throckmorton series or a love of books with The Mother-Daughter Book Club series. My Mom and I have many things we enjoy together–and several of those things she has introduced to me. If it wasn’t for her love of literature and reading, I would not have found one of my passions in life, or a reason to choose a career and chase things. But she read me stories when I was a little girl, and those stories and her imagination made me who I am today. A lover of stories, just like her.
No mother-daughter YA novel goes by without some sort of conflict between a teenage girl and her mother. My favorite author, Sarah Dessen, has a way of getting into that relationship and conflict, I love how she often portrays their transformations. Particularly in the The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride. Reading these two novels (and pretty much all of her other ones) makes me think back to my own teenage years and just how much my own Mother and I argued at times. That’s what happens when you get two strong-willed women in a house. But beyond those memories, I read these stories and think about how lucky I am to have a mother I can consider one of my best friends. When there’s crap going on in my life, it’s her I want to talk to. She stuck with me during those tumultuous teenage years and loved me through my crappy attitude. Though I wish I could change some of those conflicts, I know they’ve brought us to where we are now–a relationship that I cherish and wouldn’t trade for anything.
Lastly, I feel a driving force in so many heroine stories is the missing mother. Just look at Nancy Drew or Mary from The Secret Garden. I’m a firm beleiver that who they are is simply because of their mother, despite the fact that she isn’t in their lives. Though my own Mother isn’t missing from my life, I find many of these stories to be bittersweet for me. One one hand, they remind me how lucky I am to have such a great Mom in my life. How lucky I have been to grow up with her, to have her teach me things, to have her watch me graduate high school and college, to see her shed tears at my wedding, and to hopefully someday meet my children. But on the other hand, stories with missing mothers make my heart hurt because I don’t want to imagine the day when my Mom won’t be in my life again. Because I know that day will be hard and sad.
But mostly, it will be scary. All because I haven’t ever known a world without my Mom. But then I think back to all the great things she’s been here for, and I how much I’m becoming just like her.
And that thought right there–that I am growing to be just like my Mom–takes all the scary parts away.
I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my Momma you’ll be.
Books The Hopeful Heroine recommends:
Ivy in the Shadows by Chris Woodworth
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Nancy Drew by Caroline Keene
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett