My mother and I.
The fights, the hugs, the hurtful words, the sweet apologies and makeups.
Our story would make for some good reading, but thankfully, another mother/daughter couple did it for us and just in time for Mother’s Day.
Vanessa Williams (a HUGE girl crush of mine) and her feisty, fierce and supportive Mom, Helen, have penned:
I love other people’s stories. I enjoy asking questions and having people tell me how they met, how they felt, what it taught them and this book, from the very first page to the last sentence is a loving, eloquent and at times very funny tale of the tender relationship a girl has with the other woman in her life, her mom.
I found myself wiping tears of understandingand holding back gasps while imagining my own mom cathing me on the pull out sofa with a boyfriend and not a stitch of clothing on like Helen did with Vanessa. But mostly, what I loved about this book was the respect that these two women have for each other even as they navigate the world of pageants, college, broadway, television and of course those infamous nude photos.
I love how Helen described the way she felt about her role as mother:
From page 4: “A lot of parent’s think it’s important to be thier child’s friend. When Vanessa was growing up, I didn’t care if she liked me. She could hate me as far as I was concerned…”
What a powerful way to look at your mothering and one that I think stayed with Vanessa throughout her life, knowing that her mom was always in her corner, but would not always agree with the way she chose to live her life. Moms are a huge basket for our hearts, even when they are disappointed or frustrated with us, they stand close by to catch us as we fall.
The book’s chapters go back and forth with Vanessa or her mom telling a story from their point of view and then the other writing what they remember about that moment. It’s like sitting down with your own mom and hearing the story from both sides. You see the commitment and love undernearth all the heartache of their lives and you will identify with it immediately.
When Vanessa talks about the sudden, unexpected death of her beloved father (like mine) from Pancreatitis (like my father-in-law) and she says on page 253: “I’d gone through 2 divorce. I’d known the pain of lost love, the agony of rejection. I thought I understood what it was like to be heartbroken. The moment I saw I saw my dad’s lifeless body, I realized I had no idea.” I felt an instant and profound connection to a woman I didn’t even know and the power there is in a shared experience.
My favorite parts: the wonderful pictures and descriptions of the times they captured. They make the stories come to life.
If you are still on the fence about a mother’s day gift, and your mom loves a good, quick and inspiring read, pick up “You Have No Idea” for her. It will become a favorite on her bookshelf in no time.
And um, go hug your mom!
*This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.”