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In Praise of Daughters

Mothers just having had their annual burst of appreciation, let me add a small but enthusiastic squeak of gratitude for daughters.

I’ve had particular reason to be grateful for one of my daughters recently — I am just recuperating from rotator cuff surgery — and I have to say that I’ve been seeing adult daughters gently aiding their mothers for years.  I just haven’t thought about it.  This last two or three weeks I’ve thought about it.

Go to any doctor’s office.  Well, for best results, go to a multi-doctor practice and just observe the waiting room.  There they are in considerable numbers, competent, capable daughters looking out for and making arrangements for older women.  Some of the older women (me? she put in hopefully) are clearly only in need of temporary assistance.  Others are frail ancients who sink into the waiting room chairs and patiently watch while their daughters take complete charge of arranging whatever needs to be arranged.  And when the older women are summoned, most of the time the daughters go along with, to help Mother get there, to explain to the doctor what the problem is, to listen to what he/she has to say, to make the next appointment.  To remember what the doctor said.

Go to the grocery store.  Watch the mother creeping about hanging on to the cart while her daughter buzzes around collecting things.  Go to the mall.  There they are there, too.  Daughters giving mother a hand.  Some of the daughters look wearier than others, but by golly, they’re all there.  Might I remark  that I have not seen a single son?

I guess I’ve known that was the way the world is for a long time, but it never mattered to me  Of course, I never expected to see my daughter up at the desk with me as I signed in, asking questions about how the physical therapy is to be arranged.  I never expected to be the one who fumbled with the seat belt  (it’s my left shoulder) enough so that now my daughter opens the car door for me, stands watchfully while I sit down, and then fastens my seat belt as if I were one of her children.  I did all that for my mother, of course:  I just never expected to be the mother-in-need-of-help myself.

She just phones a couple of times a day now.  But in the first few foggy days, it was inexpressible comfort to hear her voice coming up the stairs.  “Mom?”  And she was there, her toddler trailing after her.

So let me say that Mother’s Day is splendid and I think we do deserve it.  But let me share my heartfelt appreciation for the daughters of this world.

How would we function without them?

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14 Responses

  1. You are so right. My mom took care of my grandmother, took her to the store or Dr’s appointments (or I did) not my uncle but he was there to take what he wanted when she passed away.

    I will be the one to take care of my mom when the time comes and I have 2 brothers myself.

    I had hip surgery about 6 years ago and was pretty much useless for about 3 weeks. My daughter (who was a teenager then) stepped up and helped my husband a lot. They took care of the house, fixed dinner and everything. It was nice.

    I’m glad you’re recovery is going well and that your daughter was there to help you through the worst of it.

    • Oh yes, Heather, you’ll be the one!

      It’s funny –I was lying in bed one of the early days with my youngest grandson, who’s 3, leaning on the foot of the bed and telling me a long involved story, hearing my daughter out in the kitchen, straightening up, and all of a sudden out of nowhere I remember being in a taxi in Bangkok with her. They shave babies’ heads in Thailand (it makes the hair grow in fuller, they say), and here she was with the one little tuft of hair on her soft spot, and I looked at her and wondered what sort of life we’d have together. And now? She and her husband and the children are absolutely indispensable bricks in the wall of my necessities. How lucky I am!

  2. glad you’re recovering and yes! awesome post about daughters. I love it. …and it makes me sad that I don’t have one!

  3. Um, I’m really sad that I don’t have a daughter now. Maybe I’ll get a good DIL. Or I do have sweet neices. Maybe ol’ Audrey or Ava will toss their Aunt a bone and take me to the doctor.

    Sounds like you have a good one. Glad you’re on the mend.

    • You and Keri can have a competition on which of you learns to love your daughter-in-law fastest. I know I was less than enthusiastic about my SIL to start out with, but I was lucky enough to have a MIL who never once criticized me (and there’s plenty to criticize, trust me) so I determined to pass on that gift, and have discovered that my SIL is a really wonderful person whom I love with all my heart. No, he doesn’t drive me places, or drop by to check on me (unless I’m having trouble with my car or the dryer or something — he’s a mechanic). But he picked the kids up from school so that my daughter could! So my motherly (!) advice is to learn to love whoever it is your sons marry — everything is so much easier with love.

      I sound like a Hallmark card. Sorry! But it’s true.

  4. this post kind of made me sad.

    First, thinking about my mother and having to do all that for her. She still gets around without my help…scares me to death with her driving but she’s independent.

    Second, thinking about me getting old. I have no children. And of course, having children doesn’t alway assure they will be there for you. (my husband’s first wife was only child…she died 20 years before her mother) but I’ll admit old age is a concern.

    How’s the recovery going from surgery?

    • Sorry, Cyndi — didn’t mean to make you feel wistful! You may not have children, but you’ve got a whole host of devoted friends of a variety of ages. You’re one of the most giving people I know, and believe me, the help and aid you give out comes back multiplied, and often from places you don’t expect.

      The recovery is going on — slower than I expected, but that’s mainly because the surgery was more extensive that the surgeon expected. Had my first physical therapy today and was warned I’m probably in for 4-6 months of it — but that means I’ll be in good shape for England in September. Gradually getting back into the routines: I’ll try teaching again next week, see if I hold out!

  5. Beppie, I hope your daughter read this blog about her. She should be so happy to know how you feel.

    I have no children of my own, but I remember my sister and me taking care of mom when she needed us. My brother wasn’t a lot of help. He really didn’t know what to do Men are rather helpless when it comes to certain things.

  6. This was such a great post, Beppie! My mom is my best friend and I hope I can have a relationship like this with my daughters when they are grown. Which won’t be much longer. 😦 Wishing you a speedy recovery for the next months ahead!!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I didn’t realize how much I wanted a daughter during my first pregnancy until she was born, and she was one! (This was in the olden days before routine ultrasound, of course.) That daughter is off in Boston now — does her best on the phone, of course — but having my second daughter nearby makes all the difference. It’s a very special relationship: how lucky you and I are to have it going both back to our own mothers (although mine’s gone now) and forward to our daughters.

  7. Good luck with your recovery, Beppie!

    I hate gender bias/separation and wish I could argue with you, but I couldn’t recall a single son bringing his parents in to the chiropractor where I work, or seeing them in the stores, or whatever. My SIL is taking care of my MIL now, after she broke her femur around her original knee replacement (but she lived with them already, post separation, so maybe it doesn’t count LOL).

    Thank goodness I have daughters! 🙂

    • You know, Natalie, I never gave the daughter/son business a thought. In fact, if I had any prejudices, it was that daughters tended to be closer to their fathers, sons to their mothers. And I certainly wouldn’t be making any sweeping generalizations on the basis of 2-3 weeks of being escorted places by my daughter, but I have to say that, like you in the chiropractor’s office, that’s what I’ve seen in the doctors’ offices I’ve been inhabiting of late. Maybe it’s just that the male offspring are all off at work!

      But don’t I remember that the majority of women now work outside the home as well?

      Thanks for the good wishes. It’s finally getting to the stage where I can see progress from one day to the next.

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