Books like this always remind me just how much the human spirit is able to endure and survive. They give me appreciation and gratitude for the life that I have and am able to give my children.
While many people may relate to the author, Ruth Wariner, and her experiences more, I found myself drawn to the mother. I have never disliked a person more than I did Wariner’s mother. I was horrified at her actions as I read this story. To continually – knowingly – subject her children to the situations she put them in made me so angry. I almost stopped reading the story just because of her actions.
Listen, in full disclosure, I am not in her situation and I never have been. I don’t know how I would react in her same place, but I believe I would put the well-being of my children over my selfish desires to feel love. She was irresponsible, selfish, and disconnected. Ruth’s mother put high expectations on her young daughter and manipulated her throughout her childhood to serve her own selfishness.
Crazily, I think the most powerful paragraph of this whole book is found way at the end…in the acknowledgments. Ruth Wariner thanks her mom “for blessing me with love, strength, and kindess.” I saw anything but those three things demonstrated by her mother, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. While I think Wariner is somewhat delusional in her assessment of her mother’s mothering abilities, I see the great responsibilty a mother has over her children. Even in the worst of circumstances, children want – and need – their mama’s love more than anything else. It just may be the most powerful bond in this world. The power of forgiveness is never stronger than when a child still proclaims their love and admiration for the very person who continually – and knowingly – put them in horrific circumstances. My takeaway from this book is to remember the awesome responsibilty I’ve been intrusted with in my role as mother. What I say and do, how I protect and guard my children, have long-lasting effects on them and I strive to provide them with love and stability in hopes that they become strong (mentally, physically, and emotionally), capable, and contributing members to this society.