Motherhood is an enigma. In spite of being an eyewitness to the phenomenon and an alpha contributor, I don’t fully comprehend its biomechanics. Carrying a baby to term and subsequently giving birth, changes a woman. We become endowed with predatory instincts dating back to Cro-Magnon designed to defend the primordial mound against any assailants who might most unwisely inflict pain or injury to said offspring.
Of course, on any given day, most mothers are luminously transparent with the milk of human kindness, an inward radiance that haloes us with a serene and majestic glory that is the stuff of verses in Mother’s Day cards. Blah blah blah
However, when a mother senses danger, we morph into carnivorous bi-peds, with disproportionate upper torsos and small, tearing teeth perfectly engineered for ripping raw flesh. In short, we become gladiatorial.
Now I mention this for one reason only. Brodi’s most recent book received rave reviews, primarily from her own mother, and those who were unfortunate victims of extortion from Guido, The Thumbbreaker.
Nevertheless, one reviewer from the Deseret News, said that they liked her second book, in spite of the “over-the-top romance.” This critic just could not believe that teenagers were capable of such intense commitment or involvement.
Now before I launch into a matriarchal rant, I will harness my inner gladiator, mop up the incisor drool, sheath the claws, holster my Second Amendment flame thrower, suppress my alterego, Cruella DeVille, and cease creating crop circles to entrap this reviewer’s new puppy.
I pledge to smile while experiencing the grim facial contortion of an outraged Mom, even if that smile consists mostly of pulling my lips back from my teeth in a snarl.
Yes, I will rebut this columnist’s observation with Downton Abbey-esque discipline, maintaining decorum and cosmic order for the common good, and eschew language and tacky gestures that might bring shame and dishonor upon the household.
I will not be vindictive.
All righty. Let’s proceed.
Soooo, Brodi’s characters have an “over-the-top romance,” huh?
Let’s just take a look and see if there are any historical precedents of teenagers who are “over the top.”
1. 1. Cleopatra was barely 18 when she became ruler of Egypt, disposed of her siblings who were the products of too much Ptolymeic inbreeding, seduced Caesar, bore a son, and formed a powerful alliance with Rome.
2. 2. Alexander The Great had conquered the world, executed tens of thousands, ruled by tyranny and died (probably from exhaustion) when he was barely out of his teens.
3. 3. Of course, there’s that little drama by a playwright that this critic may not have heard of…William Freakin’ Shakespeare…called “Romeo and Juliet.” Those two met, fell in love, married, and died within the space of about 15 minutes. You want over-the-top romance? Talk to the Bard!
4. 4. And who could forget Snooki?
There has been a long line of visions and pre-pubescent visionaries who have altered the course of history. I find it totally within the realm of credulity that a character might battle the forces of the underworld to retrieve someone she loves. It’s the stuff of legends.
Aaaah. I feel better now.
Brodi’s book launch was Tuesday night. And I can say without reservation, it was a success.
But through the years, I have come to better understand the subtly nuanced nature of “success.” It is a multi-layered concept. Rarely is a single individual solely responsible for his or her own achievements.
We humans are some of the most cooperative and communal of all primates. It is our very solidarity that is our defense in this fang-filled world. We stick together.
Tuesday night, once again, it was not just about the book. Loved ones gathered. Yes, Brodi’s book was the reason, but not the sole purpose.
There is a phenomenon in nature known as the “alert circle.” I love this. When a herd of animals must rest, they form a circle. And each head of each member is oriented in a different direction. Ergo, if there is danger, it is detected immediately, and the one member can alert the others. It is a survival tactic. But it is also social.
So it was Tuesday night. There was a blending of family, friends and loved ones. We gathered to celebrate, rejoice, laugh, and share the tenderness of our souls. Coming together is a powerful antidepressant.
Just prior to Brodi’s presentation, she, Erin and I gathered in a brief huddle. Erin said quietly, “I miss Dad.” As did we all. Last year his pride in his daughter lit the room. This year, in a sea of beloved faces, one was missing.
But our emotions stabilized as we tunneled into the moment. William Falkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” We racked that. And Brodi was able to give her presentation. Even in the deepest heartache, there is grace in humor. She was slightly disheveled, but that’s part of her charm. She maintained her authenticity, kept us all laughing, and did not allow her nerves to edge her into oxygen debt. Staying conscious is always the first priority. I knew it was a success when I was able to stop double-fisting Kleenexes. I was proud. Motherhood is not really an enigma. I’ll take it.