When I was growing up, my mother had this marvelous tradition of taking each of her four children school shopping individually. We'd spend the day with her and she'd take us to lunch. I cannot tell you how much I looked forward to this. I decided, with my oldest about to enter kindergarten this year, that I would begin this tradition myself. With a nursing baby, I knew we couldn't take a whole day, but I could do a couple of hours after Plantboy gets home from work and take Scallywag to dinner. I have been looking forward to this all week.
Well, the best laid plans often fall apart, and last night I found myself at Fred Meyer with my whole family doing some school shopping. Scallywag whines about trying on shoes, so I say "That's okay, we'll find shoes later." We head over the clothing section; I have a fairly good idea about what we want, but I would at least like Scallywag to choose colors, styles, etc. And despite being almost six a lot of his 4T clothes still fit so I'm trying to get an idea of sizing, etc. I'm also trying to hurry because the Poopy Pirate and Scallywag are sitting in the race car cart hitting each other and Captain Tootypants is spitting up all over Plantboy. I wave two shirts in front of Scallywag's face because his attention has totally wandered and say, "I want to buy you one of these but you need to choose the color."
He looks at me with this strange expression I can't read, kind of laughs and says,
"I just don't care, Mom."
And in that moment it absolutely hits me. I am a mother of boys. (I know, I know, you are thinking "Duh!" but bear with me.) We left the clothing section immediately, finished getting the other things we came to purchase and shuffled the boys in the car. The whole time time I was completely distracted. I suddenly felt like I wanted to cry.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love each of my little boys for very different reasons. I love their unique personalities and the breath of life they give my daily activities. I love their moods and their cuddles. I love their energy and their intensity.
But I doubt very much that I'll ever scrapbook with one of them. Hah! Many of you out there will say, "That is no big loss!" But what I'm trying to say with that trivial statement is that there are things that are a part of me that I may never get to pass on. Some things are just inherently girly. I love to read. Most of the books I read would hold NO interest for boys. I've collected hundreds of books over the years knowing that one day I'd share these tender gifts with a daughter the way my mother shared them with me. My boys will never want to know who Anne, Heidi, Meg, Aerin and Elizabeth are. I will also write books they will have no interest in reading. I like to buy and put together clothes and shoes. I like to arrange flowers. I love chick flicks.
My husband was attempting to understand my mood last night. I think he caught a little bit of a vision when I said, "What if you were had a whole household of people who had no interest in helping you with your yardwork, camping with you or learning about your projects? What if there were important parts of your personality that you had no chance of sharing with the people you loved most because they just weren't interested?" Plantboy had a hard time even imagining a houseful of women.
I think of the relationship I now enjoy with my mom and it pains me to think that I will not have a similar relationship one day. Ha! You say! You are a Mormon girl with just THREE kids, there are plenty more coming down the pipe!
Hmm . . . . having a baby just under three months doesn't really put me in a good mode for making that decision. And there is plenty of time for such a decision. But if I cannot get to a point where I'd be just as happy with four boys, and boy number four would never feel mom's disappointment that he is not a girl, then it is probably the wrong reason to have another baby.
Okay, enough wallowing. On to the book review. I've just finished Jane Eyre and I think it is brilliant. In our society of decaying morals, however, I think you are going to find fewer and fewer young people who can relate to its message. It is unfortunate. My greatest impression from the book this time was the reason Jane leaves Rochester in the first place. Although it is partly for the sake of her soul, she believes it is really for the sake of HIS soul. She sees herself as the greatest object of his temptation and fears to be the source of his damnation. Despite her own heartbreak she flees Thornfield with just 20 shillings to her name so that she will not succumb to his entreaties and drag him down to Hell with her.
Jane also has the sense to see that by allowing him to keep her as a mistress, he would eventually feel the same contempt for her that he felt for those other women. In turn, Jane would have resented Edward for turning her back, not on society which she had not use for, but on God whom she believed in wholeheartedly. Ultimately, the way we feel about others is a reflection of how we view ourselves.
In modern days, the situation is so easily rectified--Rochester should divorce wife #1. If he feels guilty about it then he can just pay for her support and move on with his life. A novel with such a theme of guilt and societal mores could never take place in our time. The great message is that despite trial and difficulty, they are together in the end because Jane stuck to her guns.
One last thing as everyone is reviewing Eclipse these days . . . Mr. Rochester is a much more interesting Edward than vampire-boy. He is so HUMAN. He is moody, but still strong. His beauty is only in the eye of his beholder. He is not young, nor does he even have the appearance of youth; in fact he his quite old (Jane puts him near 35--scandalous!). And while he has money, he has no exciting powers. His intellect is all his own, gathered over the course of a normal lifetime.
One thing both Edwards have going for them is the Darcy Effect. Many of you have heard my favorite literature theory, so you can stop right now. ;) The Darcy effect is simply this--what is most appealing to a woman about any man is that he is willing to change for her. Money, looks, power, material possessions, habits, interests are all very nice, but what a woman really wants is a man who looks at her and says, "You make me want to be a better man." She wants to know that there is some inherent part of her personality that gives her influence over him. His desire to change for her gives her more validation than a chest full of jewels and pages filled with sonnets.
"I've been a selfish being all my life . . . such I might still have been, but for you, dearest, lovliest Elizabeth."
"I've been a soulless blood-sucking vampire my whole life . . . such I might still have been, but for you, dearest, whiniest Bella."
"I've been a sinful, God rejecting grouch all my life . . . such I might still have been but for you dearest, plainest Jane."
The Darcy Effect.