Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Oh, Mama

As one of my commenters mentioned this past Sunday, in the most awesome blog comment I have yet received, mothers take it on the chin a lot in fairy tales. When they're not dying off to provide saintly examples and magical trees for their little ones, they're setting their stepchildren deliberately impossible tasks.

I don't know about yours, but my mother's not quite a saint, though there are times when she needed the patience of one, not to strangle me. She has her wicked stepmother moments as well, and I think all moms do. Still, most people tend to love their moms, and want, at least in some respects, to grow up to be like them. 

Motherhood is becoming an unexpected theme of Playing with Fire (in case you thought I forgot what day it is). Grainne's mother, Anthea, is still among the living, and rather more involved with her daughter's life than she might be if they lived in higher society. Grainne also has a second mother of sorts in Katie, the family's cook. 

As for Thunder, although his mother, Storm, has died, he finds himself thinking about her a great deal during his time in Glenscar (for reasons anyone who's read Widow will understand, and I won't spoil them for those who haven't). As well, he, too, has a second strong female figure in his life: his aunt Starsight, his father's half-sister.

In the era I'm writing about, women, especially those of "good birth", had expectations laid on them which seem oddly skewed to us today. They were meant to be delicate, refined, knowledgeable within a limited purview, but above all (though I doubt they thought of it this way), they must never do anything useful, for useful work is vulgar.

For the ladies who've shaped our hero and heroine, though, doing nothing isn't an option. Anthea, as anyone who's read "Qui Sola Ambulat" will recall, chose to walk the Way of the Cat, to refuse the expectation that she would marry well (that is, into a life of luxury and leisure) and instead pursue a dream of making the world better.

As for Katie, Storm, and Starsight, luxury and leisure was never an option. Katie and Storm were both born into the working class, where the only difference gender made was that "man's work is from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done", and Starsight's duties within her family were strictly laid out by her people's traditions.

Grainne, for her part, has been away to what she disparagingly refers to as "fine lady school", a seminary for young women of good birth, where she's learned the rules by which her mother grew up. She didn't much like it, but as she admits in today's snippet, it was important... if only so she'd appreciate Glenscar all the more!

So, as I hurry out the door (extra writing today and choir practice shortly, apologies for the resultant short post), what has your mother taught you that's been most important in your life? What do you think about the proper balance between work and leisure? And is anything I said in that blog comment reply the truth? You tell me...

2 Comments to Oh, Mama:

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pocojo on Monday, September 16, 2013 11:59 PM
Ah, difficult but interesting questions. The most important life lesson I learned from my mother is that you can deeply love someone and be deeply loved in return, and yet be routinely misunderstood and unsupported, not because they are bad, but because you are miles apart personality-wise and in your personal ethics. And yet mother-daughter love can survive between incompatible personalities, if both just want it. Mind you, I'm talking about love. Doesn't make the relationship supportive. Yet love is a lot in this harsh world, and as I said, your friends you get to choose (grin). As for proper balance between work and leisure: darn, such a first-world concept. I do love the idea, but you do need a certain income and quality of life before that becomes an issue. I think for most of humanity it's still a question of balancing work (including housework and caring for loved ones and home) and SLEEP. Leisure is a luxury. I wish everyone tons of it. It's the real quality of life indicator. Kudos for everyone who gets to have so much leisure that it even compares, let alone competes, with work.
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Anne on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:26 AM
A first-world concept, yes, but does that make it invalid? It's a wonderful thing when a society gets to the point where most of its people can achieve their basic needs without that endless work you mentioned, but what happens then? People start discovering new needs, and some of them go in some very weird and problematic directions.

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