Wanderlust in Suburbia and Other Reflections on Motherhood
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NONFICTION – Essays on Motherhood
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Marilyn Brant offers something unique and personal to the fans of her fiction and new readers alike — a collection of 21 essays and 5 poems on the subject of motherhood, filled with the warmth, humor, and astute observations that are a trademark of her novels.
Wanderlust in Suburbia and Other Reflections on Motherhood is a “tribute to our mothers and our grandmothers. To our women friends. And to all of us as well.”
LEANING TOWARD OPTIMISM
by Marilyn Brant (copyright 2015, all rights reserved)
Once, in our newly married, pre-parental days, my husband and I were vacationing in Northern France. We liked to consider ourselves deep, serious people throughout much of the year, having spent—as teachers—many months juggling pressing student concerns with demanding academic requirements. But this was summer. It was a time for rest, relaxation, and a wild jump into fun foreign culture. We took this initiative to heart. A reward to ourselves for a school year successfully concluded.
Thus, while we were diligent in visiting virtually every historical site in Normandy—from the infamous WWII beaches to the Bayeux Tapestry—our days were interspersed with crepe or cider taste testing, long walks around castle ruins, and window-shopping at patisseries. We were happy.
Back at our quaint, postcard-perfect inn after one such joyful day, I was flipping through a Parisian women’s magazine I’d come across in the lobby. Bypassing fashion articles and other perceived drivel, I settled down with a story on the performing arts. Now, my French, while never extraordinarily fluent, was adequate enough for me to be insulted by a line I read about midway through the piece. It was about Americans. The young female writer was making the point that American audiences didn’t appreciate certain theater productions because “happy endings are so important to them.”
Upon translating this, I stopped mid-column and reread that line several times before finally calling out to my husband, “Hey, listen to this!”
We bristled at the snub—certainly intentional, we felt. We believed, much like Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally, that we could be as dark and brooding as anyone out there. Of course we were generally optimistic. We wanted the good guys to win, the ugly duckling to turn into a beautiful swan, and the poor servant girl to finally get to be the belle of the ball, but was that a reason to assume we couldn’t handle the alternative?
Finally, recovering our good humor with the help of some hard cider and a chocolate pastry, we...