Saturday, April 24, 2010

In the comfort of a good book

I have posted here the essay and the link to the essay I wrote about a book, A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Daughters. I wrote it last year as an entry to National Bookstore's 2009 My Favorite Book Contest. My entry entitled "In the comfort of a good book" was chosen as one of the weekly winners. That was last November 1, 2009.

In the comfort of a good book

For so long, I contented myself with just leafing or browsing through the pages of magazines on housekeeping, parenting and home design. A few months back, I was able to finish a book I fell in love with at first sight. From the moment I laid eyes on the cover, I did not let go of it. A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Daughters by Colleen Sell compiles real-life stories of mothers and daughters and the special bond that exists between them.

This book kept me company while I was on hiatus for seven months. Never had I been so engrossed in reading a book than when I was reading this. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was carrying my third daughter when I read it. My delicate condition left me so helpless and with nothing to do other than to rest in bed for the whole duration of my pregnancy due to my history of premature deliveries.

What I really like about A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Daughters is that every story is so real. I found myself relating to each experience narrated in the book. It was as if I had written them myself. Every story in the book poignantly struck a chord in me. Some stories made me laugh while some left a tear in my eye. In this book, Colleen Sell compiled and edited the 49 stories written by mothers about their daughters and daughters about their mothers. What is so great about the book is that I recognized myself in most of its pages…both as a mother and daughter.

A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Daughters offers comfort to daughters who, like me, are longing for their mothers. But the book offers so much more than comfort. In its entirety, it reminds me that my own daughters need me so much to be that person they can draw strength and inspiration from.

I am a mother to three daughters — ages 9, 3 and 1 month. My first two were born prematurely at eight months and both weighing a pound or two shy of five. I guess you could say that I was not fortunate to bond with them right away since their immediate place after delivery was the neonatal intensive care unit. It was inside an incubator that they spent the first month of their lives with a dextrose tube attached to their tiny bodies. My only connection with them was through the bottles of breast milk I would deliver to them personally on a daily basis. My youngest, whom I delivered just a month ago, is quite lucky to have been born at 35 weeks (still short of the 38-week requirement for it to be considered a full-term delivery). My youngest baby and I were discharged from the hospital on the same day. That was a first-time experience for me.

As important as my being a mom now is, I was once a daughter, too. I lost my mother when I was 15, the time when I was starting to explore life’s adventures and misadventures. Those 15 years I had with my mother were short but nonetheless sweet. I miss her so much. It makes me think that it’s probably my inner longing for a mother’s love and affection at this point in my life that I found the book so appealing.

There are many stories here that I felt a very close connection with and they remind me of myself, my own mother and my daughters. It is hard to pick a favorite story in the book because they all have made an impact in my life, one way or the other.

But here are a few that I would like to mention:

“To Love a Stranger” by Sande Smith is a heart-warming story about a daughter who is now playing the role of the mother as she nurses her mother through Alzheimer’s disease.

Nancy Massand’s “Time Out” tells us, through the wisdom of a little girl, to simply enjoy life to the fullest with those people that matter most to us. It reminds us to slow down and smell the roses with those we love.

Sylvia E. McDonald’s “What I Wanted to Tell Her” tells a soon-to-be-mother what she would be up for when she finally gives birth to her daughter.

“The Power of a Mother’s Love” by Richelle Putnam is a touching story about a mother and her teen-age daughter who are at odds and soon find themselves reunited with one another.

These following lines either made me laugh or cry:

My knowledge of my mother is in my very skin, as is her knowledge of me.” (“To Love a Stanger”)

“That is the real miracle: the way a mother’s love is rediscovered, repeated, passed on again and again. It is a gift in itself.” (“Dear Mom”)

“Mothers never leave their daughters. They are woven together, heart to heart, soul to soul.” (“The Inheritance”)

“Kids have the secret to life. I watch the hamsters, but I’m thinking of all the other things I should be doing. To a kid, that hamster is the only thing in the world.” (“Lessons from a Four-Year-Old”)

“My mother believes in me. Whether I succeed or fail.” (“My Funny Mother”)

As I look into the eyes of my three angels, I thank God for bringing them into my life. With my nine-year old, I am just now beginning to enter into a new phase of my relationship with her. She is growing up fast and becoming an adult and that scares me. With my little girl, I am a completely different person — playful, active, and animated just like her. And with my new baby, I am as delicate and gentle as can be.

I realize that my relationship with each one of them is just like what the book depicts — it goes through a lot of changes, just as all things do, but it essays one common truth: the relationship between a mother and daughter is unbreakable and unlike any other.

1 comment:

Sande said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post and mentioning the piece that I wrote about my mom. . . Just this evening, I was looking at the picture of my mom in the obituary that we prepared for her . . . hard to believe that it's been 12 years. I still miss her so much . . . that's the way it is.
Sande Smith