She strikes a chord with me, that Author, Kelly Corrigan. I sometimes think she peeked into my life when I pick up her newest book and begin to read. I think, "how did she know?" And, "her too?"
In her first book, "The Middle Place," Kelly is diagnosed with breast cancer, and her Dad is also diagnosed with prostrate cancer.
“This is exactly what being an adult is,” she wrote, “. . . untangling a pink princess boa while wondering if you are a month away from losing both breasts, both ovaries, and your
For myself, a self-proclaimed "Daddy's girl," I could so get how hard it would be to need your Dad, while watching him battle his own disease and wanting to be there for him equally. How do you balance that? Who takes care of who?
Her latest book, "Glitter and Glue," is about her and her mother. And there it is again. I read her words, as if they are my own.
"growing up… we were never one of those Mommy and Me pairs who sat and giggled.
She didn't wink at me or gush about how pretty I looked or rub my back to help me fall
asleep. She was not a fan of deep conversation, and she still doesn't go for a lot of
physical contact. She looked at motherhood less as a joy to be relished, than as a job to be
done, serious work with serious repercussions…"
Corrigan sucked me in from her very first lines.
I've often said, I could write a book about living with stage iv breast cancer and all it is teaching me. And yet, this is merely a chapter in a broader context. The other book I could write would be about my mother and I.
After the birth of her children and after her treatment for breast cancer, Corrigan comes to realize that her mother is the “glue” of her family, the one who held it together, while her father, was the "glitter." The mother-daughter tensions Corrigan must overcome feel real, and everyday. Tangible and accessible to most of us who have been at odds with our mother at times. “What is it about a living mother,” Corrigan asks, “that makes her so hard to see, to feel, to want, to love, to like?”
She claims "It didn't happen all at once. Maybe it was inevitable, something that develops as daily life delivers its sucker punches, streaks of clarity, and slow-dawning wisdoms. The fact is, lately it seems the only person who can lift the anvils that sit heaviest on me is my mother."
I read the book in one sitting. It both pulled at my heart and made me laugh all at once. It turns out Kelly is only one month younger than I am, and her references feel as though she plucked them right out of my childhood.
Those "slow-dawning wisdoms," are still occurring to me. And I'm grateful I still have time to uncover so much more with my own mom.
The video below is a talk that Kelly gives on "The Great Adventure of Parenthood."
It's funny, wise and deeply resonates. I hope you'll take the time to enjoy!