• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Darling, You Send Me

 

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Tonight at a reading in Rochester something kind of amazing happened. The Q&A turned into a confessional. People were opening up in a very deep way about their failures as mothers, and failures as daughters. It was so painfully clear that daughters never stop seeking approval from their mothers and most never get it. So clear that a woman’s self-esteem is almost entirely based on the messages her mother sends. I felt that we were all, briefly, on a carpet ride. That the whole room went to a place together.

Do you feel me?

 

11 Responses

  1. I am in my fourth week in San Jose, CA, helping my daughter and her family as they move into a new home, await the delivery of her third child, etc., It’s been exhausting, with moments of great privilege as well as moments of emptiness. The mother/daughter relationship does seem to be fraught. I don’t have any answers, except that we must always do what we think right, even if it’s hard.

  2. If that’s true, I’m deeply fucked. Although it does work well for my writing. Which, whatever.

  3. Wish I could have been in that audience. My mother’s physician gives me high praise for my ability to “compartmentalize” my relationship with my mother. While it has been a survival technique, your Q&A session sounds like a healthier approach.

    • My mom died when I was fairly young but yeah, denial & compartmentalization have been excellent coping skills to utilize. Life’s too short to dwell, at least for me. And who’s to say what’s healthy, anyway?

  4. “Do you feel me?”

    I think I do. I think it may be the same for men. No one is closer to us than our mother.

  5. …And remarkable that The Bridge Ladies elicits such response, peels away layers…

  6. Betsy –

    I so very much enjoyed your talk as well as your reading at the Miami Book Fair this past Saturday. I introduced myself to you afterward, briefly told you my mom story, went across the hall to buy your book, and them came back to ask you to autograph it.

    I love memoirs, which is how I came to be attending your panel, not having heard of any of the three of you (but then realized halfway through you were the literary agent of my friend Leslie). I also realized that room was exactly where I was meant to be, having had a *very* challenging relationship with my mother throughout 5+ decades, and then grateful to be her end-of-life caregiver. During those two months, we finally said and did what we needed for each other. Relief and redemption.

    I wept through much of your presentation, and am so glad our paths synchronistically crossed. All this to say… Thank You… ❤

    P.S. Including a long-ago post from my now-defunct blog re: Mom. You'll see that I use song titles, too… 🙂

    http://optimisticvoices.blogspot.com/2009/07/la-vie-en-rose-edith-piaf.html

  7. My me as daughter tattered carpet seats only one. My me as mother carpet . . . I work on the worn spots often.

  8. Indeed. I have seen the pain from my wife still wishing for her mother’s approval even though her mother is now dead. I call it the OK that you belong in this world. Yes you should try to survive. When you’re a kid, your parents are all you have. They are supposed to instinctually show you how to live in this world. Apparently, God thinks different than people who want peace on earth and good will towards men, and all that stuff. But, I ain’t God, so God only know what the fuck is going on. My wife says Betsy Lerner has some good insights. Just so you know. She feels ya. And since she feels ya I feel ya. Ya.

  9. The Ƭower of Babel exemplified the conceit of male, as
    people tried tto create a structure tο reach out to the paradises.
    The lord ɦad one more ρrogram, and He confused their foreign language.
    (This was ann antithetical foreshadowing оf Pentecost, maybe, yet that is
    actually for theoloǥians to coveг, muϲh more than young kids.).

  10. […] her recent blog post, New York City agent, editor, and author Betsy Lerner wrote about the Q&A after a reading for […]

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