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Never Ending Conversation – Mothers and Daughters

This is a Midlife Boulevard bloghop. Take a look at the posts shared by the Women of Midlife, which you’ll find at the end of this post. This anchor post from Sharon Greenthal explores how stories connect the women in her family.

Mothers and Daughters 

Every so often my mother will call me to tell me about something really cute I did when I was a little girl.

“You told the entire story of Mary Poppins at the Passover seder when you were three,” she recalls.

I know I did. She’s told me this, no kidding, hundreds of times. And I bet I was really cute. Who can resist a three year old singing Supercalifragilisticexpealidotious?

mothers and daughters

Mothers and daughters: Our first four generations photo, 1990

My mother is my memory keeper.

How she remembers so much is hard for me to understand. I know I’ve forgotten far more about my children’s lives than I remember, which makes me sad. Somehow my mother has held on to memories that I only know because she tells me about them. Sometimes I confuse my actual memories with the stories she’s told me, over and over. I like to hear those stories. I like knowing that she holds on to those moments for me.

I do the same thing with my daughter. I’ll dredge up some episode from her childhood, usually to her delight.

“Remember how, when you were four, you would put on entire musical productions in the backyard for your stuffed animals?” I’ll ask her. Since her memory is nearly as good as my mother’s, she often does remember things, which surprises me. My son, on the other hand, remembers nothing. It’s as if his life didn’t begin until he discovered sports, sometime around kindergarten.

Memories are a powerful and constant part of who the women are and have been in my family. The matriarchal line is strong and filled with conversation. We are not a family of doers – we don’t go skiing or sailing or putter around in our gardens together.

Our last four generations photo, 2009

Our last four generations photo, 2009

Mostly what we do is talk.

We’ll sit around, laughing and remembering, sometimes growing weary of the same old words, but always glad to be sharing them. My grandmother was a champion talker. Her stories were epic and never-ending, and so tales of my great-grandmother are as vivid to me as the memories of my daughter’s first day of pre-school. I know the names of my mother’s high school friends (Carol, Linda, Nancy, Carol, Carol…) almost better than my own. My children know the names of the streets I grew up on. We tell the same stories, over and over, and it keeps us connected to our past, even as we move swiftly and constantly into the future.

My mother and I never really stop talking. Our conversations – sometimes daily, sometimes weekly – are rarely brief and always in-depth. We talk about the past, we talk about the present, but we don’t talk much about the future. There’s so much to consider right now, it just isn’t important for us to speculate on what’s coming next.

When my daughter was born, it wasn’t 15 minutes before I picked up the phone to call her. Fifteen minutes!

“Katie’s here,” was all I said.

That moment I remember very well.



Sharon Greenthal

Sharon's blog, <a href="http://www.emptyhousefullmind.com">Empty House Full Mind</a>, focuses on observations of the world from the midlife empty nest. Sharon is the Young Adults Expert on <a href="http://youngadults.about.com/">About.com</a>. Sharon writes for the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharon-greenthal/">Huffington Post</a> and <a href="http://purpleclover.com">Purple Clover</a>. Sharon is the mother of two grown children - a daughter, 26 and a son, 24. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Instagram: sharongreenthal

Karen D. Austin

Tuesday 13th of May 2014

Thanks for the two time-is-marching-on photos and the narrative about the value of communication.

Vidya Sury

Saturday 10th of May 2014

Sharon, this blog hop is such a treat! So glad to join in.

I lost my Mom four years ago and I miss our conversations the most. Sigh. :)

Thank you! Happy Mothers Day to you. Your photos are precious!

Judy Freedman

Thursday 8th of May 2014

Thanks for sharing your memories. You are so lucky to have your mom around to talk to. Love the pics too.

Janie Emaus

Wednesday 7th of May 2014

We talk a lot, too. Don't you love having four generations?

Cathy Chester

Wednesday 7th of May 2014

I remember my grandmother's stories about escaping the Cossacks in Russia better than I remember some stories about my young son, which is a testament to my bad memory, and which I am very sad about. I thought I'd mentally record every single second.

Enjoyed reading your post, and I also want to say that the name CAROL was certainly popular a long time ago! :-)

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