This past weekend, I had the joy of heading to Virginia, as I do every September, to celebrate the birthday of one of my college roommates and very close friends. I go visit every year - sometimes a little early in the month if her birthday falls on one of the Jewish holidays and sometimes a little later in the month if my nephew is having a birthday party as they share the same date. This year I was able to be there on her actual birthday and her sister drove in from Pittsburgh and it was a real treat. We figured it had probably been about 10 years since our visits collided like they did and all 3 of us had a lot of catching up to do!
The main event of our weekend was the 2012 Book Festival hosted by the Library of Congress. It was a gorgeous day and we were excited to head over to check it out. Right in the shadow of the Washington Monument, there were tents and speakers and the grounds were simply buzzing.
One of the keynote speakers was an author by the name of Lisa Scottoline. She is from the Philadelphia area and I recognized her name right away and wanted to be sure we heard her speak. I have read a few of her mystery thrillers and always enjoyed them. I knew she also had a column in a major Philadelphia newspaper that my mom sometimes clipped out for me to read. What I did not know is that she has an adult daughter who is also a writer and whom she also collaborates with - quite often in fact.
Ms. Scottoline spoke for close to a half hour on a variety of topics such as where she gets her inspiration, what inspires her to work, why she left a career as a lawyer to become a writer and much more. She is a single mother and she and her daughter have always been very close. She addressed that relationship.
I did not take notes so I can't do her speech justice, but her words have echoed in my mind since I heard them yesterday. She came to terms with her daughter growing up and having a life of her own by acknowledging that she was not "letting her daughter go" but acknowledging that she never "had her" in the first place. Her daughter was a privilege and a blessing, sure...but not something she ever "owned" and had to thus "let go".
Sitting there under the big tent with one of my closest friends by my side, my eyes started to fill up. Wow. How true are those words?? People are not possessions. That is not news. But to hear it in the context of an adult mother and daughter that need to know boundaries in order to be the friends that they are and to share the same profession, it seemed different to me. Same message, I guess, just different packaging.
I never "owned" my daughter so it seems bizarre to think I am "holding onto her" or "letting her go". I want to just learn to "be" with her in my heart and in my soul and I do and she is.
The rest of the weekend was spent in a haze of laughter and wine and cupcakes and fun and it was a weekend I will not soon forget. I laughed so hard that I had tears. I like the happy tears so much more than the sad tears. I like being reminded that there are still things to laugh about and people to laugh with. And if you add in just a little bit of culture like attending a Book Fair, look how much you can expand your mind. Not a bad way to spend the first day of Fall. Not a bad way to spend any time at all!