The Book Club

“I’ve just been reading about you in the bathtub. That is you in the bathtub, right? At least that’s how I read it.”

It’s Mom. Calling to check up on how I’m doing. She’s been worried about me since I travelled home to see her. She’s referring to a poem I wrote: A Body in the Bathtub.

“Yes, it is.” I search my mind for the poem, written almost two years ago.

“Well, I was at book club this morning, and we were reading Robert Frost, and I told them my daughter is a writer, and I was hoping you wouldn’t mind if I shared your work with them.”

“Of course not, Mom. You’re in a book club?”

Just two weeks ago, we were afraid we were losing her.

“We call it a book club, but we don’t actually read books – more poetry or short stories. Who knows if we’ll be around long enough for a book,” she chuckles.

“How about that,” she adds; “I said it out loud: My daughter is a writer. That’s what you are, right? “

I have to smile. Is that pride in her voice? I don’t know how to respond.

“I do write.”

“Anyway, I’m rereading the poems you left me and I think this one is about you being published, and how that has given you the incentive to live again.”

I wrote long before anything was published, but I appreciate her interest.

“I remember it to be about me connecting with Dad’s encouragement from beyond the grave,” I offer.

“Oh, yeah, your father is in it too. He always encouraged you.”

I feel like I’m in a bit of an altered reality. For years, Mom has been critical of my life choices, and Dad and my relationship was a little more complicated than she is suggesting, but anyway….Mom in a club discussing literary works, reading Frost – is very… unexpected.

“You must be feeling well, Mom, if you’ve joined a book club.”

“Oh, I’m okay. I’ve just decided I can either lie here and feel sorry for myself, or I can get out and keep living. I went and watched the music downstairs this morning too. They had a couple of good singers.”

“How’s your, Mom?” Ric asks when I hang up.

“She’s joined a book club.”

He raises his eyebrows in disbelief.

“Got to hand it to her; she’s not a quitter.”

(Featured Image: Mom & Dad in earlier days. I’m guessing 35 years ago.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

13 thoughts on “The Book Club

  1. Wow, this made me tear up a little V.J.. That really is a huge thing, your Mom telling her book club that you’re a writer. I don’t know why it’s so hard for parents sometimes to tell their children that they’re proud of them, but it’s obvious that she’s proud of you, even if she doesn’t entirely “get it.”

    I’m glad your Mom is doing so much better, and I love that she’s doing something you never thought she’d be doing….😊 It sounds like she may be holding out an olive branch by showing interest in something you love….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny thing is, she never got past grade 8, and always thought my pursuit of education was a waste of time (women should be wives and mothers, period). What an example she is setting by stepping out of her comfort zone and learning at her age. How to embrace life!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Parents never cease to surprise us! I’ve always felt there was this “other” reality to my parents, but as I get older, I like I imagine they did, start to realize what is important; they were a generation of keep quiet, don’t discuss and now here is your Mum wanting to share your writing, I think a subtle way of saying how proud she is. So glad she is feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

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