On this special day, I’d like to thank you for introducing me to many fine authors throughout my childhood, all of them sarcastic, most of them British, and one of them Jane Austen!
I’d also like to thank you for not being a Jane Austen mother. I’d like to thank you for not giving me away in childhood, like Fanny Price’s mother (and thank goodness you didn’t have to). I’d like to thank you for not sitting on the sofa playing with your pug dog while my evil aunt ruined my childhood, ala Lady Bertram. And I’m certainly glad you didn’t die in my formative years like Mrs. Woodhouse and Lady Elliot. Though, if you had been like Lady Susan, I might have wanted you to! Most of all, I’m glad you didn’t try to force me into marrying my own cousin, because he may be cute like Mr. Darcy or ugly like Mr. Collins, but either way, EWW! You haven’t even been explaining all about my love life to anyone who would listen, like the amiable Mrs. Bennet. Geez, Mom, how do you expect me to get a husband, anyway?!
That’s right, you didn’t ever pressure me one way or another. Like Mrs. Dashwood, you were always supportive but discreet, respecting my privacy. It’s just lucky Mr. Fitzpatrick didn’t turn out to be the Willoughby type. (For the record, gentle readers, Mom’s reaction to my announcement that I was getting married was, “Do I know him?” Sarcastic through and through, that’s my aged relative!)
To the other mothers out there: take a moment to reflect on your behavior. Have you emulated any of Jane Austen’s mothers? If so, which ones? Because if you’ve taught your daughters to read Jane Austen (and I hope you have), they’ll know how to deal with you!
Likewise, daughters, thank your mothers for any non-cousin-marrying behavior. It’s hard to be a mother, so they tell me, and Jane Austen certainly showed us how low the bar could go.
So, Mom, happy Mother’s Day! I hope you enjoy our traditional out-loud reading of “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses” by Mark Twain. We can certainly follow it up with some P. G. Wodehouse or Jane Austen if you want!
Your loving daughter,
Photo credit: ©2009 Heather Dever. All rights reserved.Emma, Fanny Price, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses, James Fenimore Cooper, Jane Austen, Lady Bertram, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Lady Elliot, Lady Susan, Mansfield Park, Mark Twain, Mother's Day, mothers, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Dashwood, Mrs. Woodhouse, P.G. Wodehouse, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility on Saturday, May 8, 2010 · 3 Comments »