The Middle Place is Kelly Corrigan's memoir of her fight with breast cancer as well as her father's battle with prostate cancer.
My sister-in-law gave me this book for my birthday back in June, but I didn't have a chance to read it until over the holidays. I LOVED this book and it has been on my mind ever since I put it down. I highly recommend it.
Aside from the tender and honest way Corrigan writes about her family, loss and personal battles, what I appreciated and related to most was her description of the "middle place", the period between raising her own children and still being a child herself.
"It is one thing to be a man's wife--quite another to be the mother of his children. In fact, once you become a mother, being a wife seems like a game you once played or a self-help book you were overly impressed with as a teenager that on second reading is puffy with common ideas. This was one of many things I had learned since crossing over into the middle place--that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap. One day you're cheering your daughter through a swimming lesson or giving her a pat for crossing the monkey bars or reminding her to say "please," and the next, you're bragging to your parents about your newest trick--a sweet potato recipe, a raise at work, a fix for your ant problem. It's a giant Venn diagram where you are the only member of both sets."
I shed more than a few tears reading this book and couldn't help but think about my own middle place. Here I am, a new mother experiencing more joy and frustration than I probably ever have before in my life and I don't have my parents here to share it with. They aren't here to tell me I'm doing it all wrong or doing it all right. I don't have them to consult, commiserate or argue with, bounce ideas off of, or ask them what they did with me when I was Lucas' age.
Yet, I'm still in that middle place.
Just because I lost my parents, does that mean I stopped being a kid myself? A daughter? Hmmmm, now which one of you faithful Letters For Lucas readers is going to tackle that $25,000 question? It's a hard one. Even at 35 I felt like their kid and then with their deaths I had to grow up...fast. I had big time adult decisions to make and a younger sister to care for and advise and a brand new marriage.
Don't get me wrong, I don't need an "'atta girl", but validation is always nice, especially coming from your parents. No one can argue with that. They raised me well and I have to believe that they would be proud of me and the mother I am becoming.
My parents spirits push me forward and I do see them in my son. Becoming a mother made me realize how much they loved me and well, that has to be enough.
The best is yet to be.