These are the women in my life: my mom, my sisters, my aunt, my sister-in-law and cousins-in-law. We are united in our bond as family members and even though we’re scattered around the country, we come together for weddings and funerals and various other family occasions. I love these women. They’re a part of who I was yesterday, who I am today, and who I’ll be tomorrow.
But in the world beyond my family, I’ve discovered another sisterhood, women with whom I’ve opened a vein and shared my innermost dreams and sorrows and joy. While men have always been vital to my life – as a teenager, I coveted my girlfriend’s four older brothers and wished I could exchange my sisters for them – it’s only been in recent years that I’ve learned to truly appreciate the many women in my life.
When I look back, the sisterhood has always been there, from playing dress-up as a kid to playing Barbie in the empty lot next door. From sharing the angst of unrequited love to sharing the joy of bridal showers and wedding vows. From impending motherhood to exchanging distant – but never forgotten – memories of childbirth.
The sisterhood is all about relationships and families and womanly support. It’s my very own cheerleader squad which comes to the rescue when I need them the most. It’s the woman next door who lends me a cup of sugar so I don’t have to make a trip to the store. It’s the girlfriend who offers to babysit my toddler so I can take a break from being a mommy. It’s the co-worker who takes one look at me, realizes I’m having a horrific day and covers for me without question. It’s the writer-friend who gives me the honest critique I requested, then worries they’ve hurt my tender feelings.
This is my sisterhood, the special women in my life, who stand beside me no matter what.
Who are the special women in your life and what makes them so different from the men in your life?
I inherited my nose from my dad. I also inherited his calves, his easy going personality and his love of reading. He died in 2009 but my all time favourite picture of him shows him sitting on the beach in a lawn chair, a book in his hands with the sun shining down on his head.
The first book I remember holding was a beautiful hardcover copy of Cinderella, filled with strange words I couldn’t read and beautiful pictures I adored. Once I learned to read, I worked my way through Dick and Jane, on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and in between, the back of every cereal box my mom ever bought.
When I ran out of reading material, I would sneak into my dad’s book stash, which he wisely kept in the garage, and read his Harlequin romances. He also had some racier novels there, stories with – gasp! – sex, and if my mom knew I was reading those books – heck, if she knew my dad was reading those books – she would have banned them from our reading material.
These days I’m allowed to read whatever I want and I want to read a lot. In fact, I want to read more than I have time for. Favourite authors include Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Samuel (O’Neal), Ann Voss Peterson, Linda Style, Susan Vaughan, Virginia Kelly, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few. And with the arrival of the e-reader, not only is my to-be-read pile contained within one small device instead of all over the office floor, but I’ve discovered indie authors like our own Women Unplugged bloggers Dianne Venetta and Christy Hayes. If you haven’t read their books yet, run to your nearest e-reader and download them now. I’ll wait ….
Shortly before my dad died, he gave me the book Volcano by Richard Doyle. When he told me I had to read this book, there was a tone in his voice that I recognized so well. It was awe and wonder for a can’t-put-it-down story, emotions I too experience whenever I fall in love with a story or an author’s voice. Although I have yet to read the book – I’ve become more of a love-to-laugh-out-loud reader – Volcano will forever remain on my keeper shelf because it was the last time my dad shared his love of reading with me.
This is how I will always remember my dad, with a book in his hands and another waiting to be read. This is, hopefully, how my children will remember me, too.
So who did you inherit your reading gene from? Who are some of your favourite authors and books? And if you had to choose, would you rather spend your hard earned money on books or food and clothes?