Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yes, it's Mother's Day. I'll be calling my Mom, my sisters, sister-in-law, favorite mission companions, etc. by the end of the day, but I thought I'd kill a little time before church and blog about parental relationships.

In so much of popular fiction, there's often more than an age gap between parents and children. Whether it's Buffy and Joyce, Bella and Renee, etc. the rule seems to be that the parents can't handle the truth, would punish the truth or just can't be trusted with the truth. Now, I would understand this if the mothers were all Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, but even in Harry Potter, it's inadvisable to entrust parents with vital information. Take a look at how much the trio keep from Mrs. Weasley or how Dean says that he's not stupid enough to tell his mother anything about what's going on at Hogwarts.

So, when I set out to write Ella's relationship with Sarah Mack, I sort of borrowed a lot of the best things about a mother-daughter relationship. Mostly, it involves the fact that Ella is not out to hide anything from her parents. When she runs away from home, it's with warning and explanations. This might be a response to how my family dysfunctioned after my older sister ran away from home, but so be it.

Sarah nags and pries; she wants to know if your homework is done and when you'll be home from a date. She doesn't overreact to bad news, but is concerned with how to do damage control. Yes, she's really a kind of typical mother, at least in my experience. Where she matches my own Mom are moments like her falling asleep as soon as they leave Philadelphia for a trip to NYC; I have a journal of my trip to Taiwan and it opens with a comment about how we're over the Pacific and Mom's been snoring on a stranger's shoulder for several hours. Sarah puts a lot of thought into trip details; Mom is the one who got me tickets to Wicked, but also had almost every moment of our two-week trip to Europe planned.

In short, I wanted a typical Mom, but I wanted someone in whom Ella could put her trust.