Saturday, November 14, 2009

children and Amelia

In Muriel's book, she talks about Amelia's visit. How she says her work has left her no time for children. This fits in neatly with the concept of choice. Women had to make one. Were they going to focus on career or raising a family. That was then, this is now right? Yet why is it that so many women I know still feel pulled in both directions? Because in this world you can't have it all? Because there just isn't enough time or energy to do both well, or even at all?

Amelia flew away. When I think of her I think of her soaring, and leaving. I imagine Muriel left behind. Muriel whose life was demanding enough; a schoolteacher, a civic minded citizen, a wife and mother. That in itself is more than enough for most of us to juggle. I wonder about regrets. Did Amelia really regret not having children, or was that her sister's construct?

That's the thing, when someone dies they can't tell you what they thought. They can't defend themselves or revise their history. Biographers and writers, yes like myself, get to have a shot.

I look at my children and think they're the best thing I've done. When I was in my twenties I thought career was everything. Then I had my first child and realized how wrong that was. Career is wonderful, getting published is wonderful, writing is what saves me, but my children . . . well they're astonishing. I'm glad I didn't have to choose, but I wonder if I did choose. Choose to be a mother first, a writer second. Choose to focus on them because it was what was necessary. And because I wanted them to have a better chance than I did.

If so, I don't regret it.

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