Room by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote Slammerkin, a book I read a few years back), left me turning over so many stones in my mind, wondering.
I am in a bit of a wondering place right now in my life; thanks for bearing with me.
Without spoiling the book for you (if you see me this week, local peeps, I'll have my copy in my van for you), I have to say here that as hard as it was to enter that room and read to the end of the tale, it was worth every word because it is a story of fighting for hope, a story of living.
Though the story is told from the point of view of a five year old boy, the writing is so skillful that his mother's (Ma) voice, her point of view, comes through the pages as well.
And as a mother myself, it is her point of view, her perspective, that keeps running through my mind.
Motherhood is a charged noun, one that evokes a number of reactions - both positive and negative - depending on who you ask. Just take a stroll down any parenting aisle in your local bookstore, or through the self-help aisle, or even through the fiction aisle and you're bound to find a multitude of titles trying to defend, deconstruct, destroy, deny, disparage, defy, and deify modern motherhood.
But motherhood and mothering are two very different things.
Motherhood muses thoughtfully about purpose and vocation; mothering scrapes the puke off the sheets at two in the morning so the washing machine won't get clogged.
Motherhood wonders at our new place in the order of the universe and tries to realign all of our old selves (wife, daughter, friend, worker) with this new self of mother in such a way that keeps our ego happy; mothering throws on dirty jeans, mis-matched flip flops, and cares not a whit about trivialities like hair or makeup in the race to get a dreadfully sick or painfully injured child to the ER.
Motherhood thinks; mothering does.
My best moments in this journey from Me to Mom, the ones I am most proud of, aren't built upon the foundation of pretty words strung together in clever ways, thoughts about motherhood that I've coaxed from the far corners of my mind and given voice to in such a way that other mothers have nodded quickly and said, "Yes. YES!"
My best moments have been actions.
Those are the moments where I am the best version of myself because I am not all about myself.
Room by Emma Donoghue is a look at mothering the verb, not motherhood the noun.
And it is perfectly told by it's five year old narrator for the truth is this: our children see us as the sum of those small (and sometimes large) actions of mothering, not as some self-idealized and well-crafted personalized version of motherhood.
Be sure to read the round up of posts about this book here*; you can also leave a comment there and be entered to win a giveaway copy of this book courtesy of From Left to Write.
*Oh yeah, I am totally ROCKING the posting deadlines on my book club reading.....NOT! ;-)