Mamatoga Book Club: Lift by Kelly Corrigan, Part 2

Hi Book Clubbers! I hope you all enjoyed the first half of our first book club title, Lift by Kelly Corrigan. I'm going to start out our discussion tonight by posting a thread from our book club posting last week which I think is really insightful and can be a good starting off point for discussions in the future about this title:

When I first saw the title Lift I automatically thought of the feeling. I feel lifted when my son does something thoughtful or unique. Knowing that either my husband or myself somehow instilled freedom to be himself or instilled politeness in him. I am Lifted by the feeling that I am doing my best to raise a well guided and nice little boy. Overall I feel the Lift feeling when I look at him and know what a gift I have been given and I am forever grateful. I completely agree with parenting being compared to flying into rough air and sometimes without so much as a hang glider. Parenting is a learning adventure. You never know where the next calm or turbulent air current may be and you fly into it blindly. And depending on your patience and ability to adapt determines how not only yourself will come out but your child as well. A person is molded by their experiences, it makes them who they are. How they view the world and themselves. As for the last part. Would I tell a single women to become a mother? That depends on the person. This may seem like a cheap way out. But I have three sisters. I believe two of them were meant to be mothers. Thankfully they are married and have children, but even if they were single I would tell them they should not miss out on parenthood. As for the last, that would be a definite no! Some women were not meant to have children and could possibly do more harm than help for not only the child but the woman as well.

I'm going to add just a little of my own thoughts to the discussion here. At the risk of sounding like a classical pessimist, when I think of the word "lift" I think of two things, the exciting, thrilling aspect of being elevated up from having your feet on the ground, but also of the space that was just created to fall back down through. As much fun as being lifted up is, it creates a fear, or an insecurity, that you will fall back to earth and maybe not so gently. I also liken this to parenting in the fact that it is something that you engage in for the highs and lows, the lifts and the falls back to earth, but you trust that the lifts will be worth the thuds, even if it is scary. This also translates to Corrigan characterizing parenthood as “a bold and dangerous” endeavor. I would fully agree with Corrigan's statement, and I've known parents from all sides of the spectrum, parents who knew "all their lives" they would be parents and seem equipped with an endless supply of self confidence when it comes to parenting and others who weren't sure from the beginning and spend a lot of time second guessing themselves and their actions and the effects they have, and I'm not sure who has it better, the ones with the self confidence brimming over or the ones who perhaps will always question if they are doing the best job? What I thought was really powerful about the first half of the book, even though reading about Corrigan's experience with Claire was difficult to get through, was the simple fact that as taking on the job as parent you do open yourselves up to this whole new scary world of "risk", as Corrigan put it, that risk was "not an event we survived but the place where we now lived". This brings me to my first question, is this a statement you can relate to as a parent? Corrigan talks about how after becoming a parent any sort of risk seeking behavior (i.e. scuba diving) lost its appeal because of the risk involved in just being a parent. Do you agree with Corrigan? If so, what are some ways you focus on the "lift" and not the "risk" of parenting? My other two questions are split from the first half and the second half.  From the first half, Corrigan writes about how she "once heard the average person barely knows ten stories from childhood...". Does this ring true for you? And what does childhood really mean if we can't remember it? Are the memories we have real, or accurate, or are they half experienced and half pieced together by photos and retelling of stories by other family members? What are some of your pivotal memories from childhood, and do you think they affected you as an adult? And one question to think about for the second half of the book, Corrigan spends many pages telling the story of her cousin Kathy and Kathy's son Aaron. What is the impact of witnessing a tragedy? How do we internalize the things that happen around us? Can there be an element of "lift" in a tragedy or are some experiences of tragedy lift-less? Please let us know what you think of this title, and your feelings while reading it, part of the Book Club is to engage in discussion so we can all maybe have a deeper understanding, and everyone's opinion and discussion points are valuable to the experience, so even if it's just a few words, share with us! I hope you're enjoying this book so far, and when you're adding to the discussion start thinking about what our next title could be as well! I hope you're all having a great Sunday, keep in mind that you can add your discussion comments here at the bottom of the post and all throughout the week under our Book Club page, or if you'd prefer you can even email us and we can add your discussion ourselves. Our "assignment" for Book Club this week is to finish Lift, so happy reading Mamatogians!