For this annual holiday, I admit to wanting a splendid dinner out and gifts from my husband and millennial son. I’ve worked hard at home this year to provide them with personal attention, care, financial support when needed, and, most of all — huge-hearted love.
And like other moms out there, some of us want a reward worthy of 364 days of unconditional giving — so sue us if you must!
Yet both my husband and son graciously agreed. But they were surprised when I remarked, “What I really want more than anything are Carrie Fisher’s audio books — that way I can be entertained during my daily household tasks.”
Now because our family is conservative-minded, Republican, and Roman Catholic, the guys wanted to know why on earth liberal Carrie Fisher was my choice. I’m drawn, usually, to classics like Mark Twain’s “Joan of Arc” and whodunits like Agatha Christie’s “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side.” I explained that, although Fisher’s leftist and liberal tendencies were not my cup of tea, I thought her a very fine writer with a unique voice. To me, she defined art itself by taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.
As a fledging writer years ago, I admired Fisher’s sharp writing skills, which packed more in one sentence or phrase than most people could do in several paragraphs. For me, she also reinvented the genre of memoir to hilarious heights of profound truth-telling even while struggling in the depths of darkness and struggle.
Today, among her books, a few of my favorite Fisher one-liners are: “Instant gratification takes too long” (“Postcards from the Edge”); “Resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die” (“Wishful Drinking”); and “I don’t know how anyone can drink alcohol, just based on the taste” (“The Princess Diarist”).
In addition, her writing acumen was made clear when she won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for “Postcards from the Edge.” For years, she was also known as the go-to-gal for script doctoring to punch up other writers’ soon-to-be doomed screenplays.
Most of all, I also recalled the transcendent bond she had with her mom, Debbie Reynolds.
They had God-given gifts, and they had each other for many years.
As a kid, my own mom and I adored Debbie Reynolds in many movies but especially in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a brilliant musical soundtrack of one young woman’s fight to survive and “make it” with courage and tenacity while staying true to herself. As mother and daughter, my mom and I related to such romanticized heroines and also had a deep and lasting bond until she passed away at age 94, just a year and a half ago. No one will ever replace her.
I can’t think of a better dénouement to any Mother’s Day story than an unsinkable mother-daughter relationship like the one exemplified by Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. They had God-given gifts, and they had each other for many years. And when one’s time is up, by God’s will, there may be no better way to pass on than as mother and child — together forever.
The author, a retired attorney based in Arizona, is a writer, columnist and adviser to special-needs families.