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...