The Godmother represents what is good about “chick lit.” While I picked up this book to meet my “fast read, distracting plot” category of reading, it left me thinking about what it means to be happy as a modern-day woman. Does happiness automatically come with attached husband and children? Or better yet, do husband and children automatically lead to happiness?
From reading mommy blogs along the way, I’d say that many women who have exactly what the protagonist of The Godmother, Tessa King, is looking for would not necessarily answer that they’ve found the key to happiness. In fact, Tessa’s fictional friends in the novel, those whom she, as a single career woman, aspires to emulate in the life department, don’t truly seem to have it locked up either. There’s the long-married couple who are struggling with thus-far unsuccessful IVF treatment; there’s the single mom who fights to stay afloat financially; there’s the couple who married young and are now dealing with the drug use of their teenage son, and there’s the once outgoing, beautiful friend who has disappeared into the world of newborn twins and a domineering, partying husband.
Sounds fun, no? And that’s what makes The Godmother worth reading. Author Carrie Adams brings the dark side of domestic life up for examination and still leaves the reader hoping that Tessa can find what she’s looking for in the end.
The Godmother had me turning pages faster and thinking about the characters longer after I’d finished the novel than anything I’ve read recently. Many of my friends and I are entering into what by standards these days are “old married years.” Adventure Guy and I have been married 17 years. Our closest friends have been married 18 and 15 years respectively. In our circle of friends, we had some divorces early on–in the three to five year range, but the rest of us have hung in there. From an outside perspective, I can say that our friends’ marriages vary in their happiness levels.
And the interesting thing about that is the very thing that Tessa King seeks, kids, seems to be the source of much of the disagreement in the marriages I’m at least somewhat privy to these days. With many of us managing full lives of raising children, working, and being active in our communities, the balance aspect is a challenge. I see wives who struggle to have time for everything, leaving behind time for themselves or time with their husbands. I see husbands feeling pressured to be good providers, sometimes to the detriment of time spent with the kids they’re working so hard to provide for. And I see both partners often feeling like they are the ones putting in the lion’s share of the effort.
And, while I’m sure there are those who could analyze my marriage as well, I have to say I’m one of the lucky ones. While Adventure Guy and I certainly have our disagreements from time to time, we’re in this thing together. A great example comes from how we worked things out this weekend in a rather challenging dilemma.
As you’ve read, perhaps ad nauseum here lately, last week was rough. We had too many places to be and too many things to do. Adventure Guy had a long-planned hunting trip that he left for on Thursday. Of course, Dancer Girl came down with a mysterious illness on Friday morning and had to be picked up from school–because it just wouldn’t be the same to get sick when it was convenient!
I picked Dancer Girl up from school, and she proceeded to sleep all of Friday and all morning Saturday. I had spoken to Adventure Guy on Friday night to tell him what was going on, since I was trying to determine how to handle the fact that we all were scheduled to leave on Saturday afternoon for Gym Girl’s meet. One option was to let Gym Girl just ride with friends and not have a parent there to watch–not the best option in my mind. Adventure Guy immediately said he’d cut his trip short and come home to stay with Dancer Girl. And he meant it, and there were no repercussions to my asking him to do just that once I evaluated how Dancer Girl was feeling Saturday morning.
And that’s what it means to have a husband who’s a true partner. I try always to be thankful not only for finding just the right guy back there as my 19-year-old self but also for being smart enough to recognize what I had found. Hopefully, Tessa King, out there in the land of fiction, will be just as fortunate.