Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I am glad Kami finally got around to writing about the sisterhood aspect of this novel--which really drew me in. Julia, I also appreciated your comments on the issue.

Like I mentioned before, I didn't realize how much women needed women growing up. That came partly because my mom didn't have many female friends (I didn't realize until much later all the factors that played into that and how that must have added to her stress level as a woman/wife/and mother), and partly because I grew up listening to my parents ridicule the idea of "girls night out" or a "scrapbooking night" or "lunch with the girls" or ANYTHING that involved a woman choosing to spend time with other women over choosing to be with her husband. For my parents, that was pretty much a no-go.

So, in my normal fashion of assuming everything my parents said was true I assumed that I would never need anyone outside of my family, and certainly once I was married I would never need anyone outside of my spouse. How untrue!

I started to get a glimmer of just how untrue when I left home for the first time and realized that I was a ship completely without anchor without my mom. I spent my whole life following her around like a puppy (still do, actually) and between her and my best high school friend Pepe, and my brother Derek, I really had everything I needed as a GIRL. Homesick doesn't even really describe how I felt--lost is more the word I would use. I don't know how much Julia remembers of this from our first semester at BYU.

I had some really great friends at BYU (Julia mostly that first year), but it wasn't until I lived with the Conley women and was adopted into their crazy sisterhood that I understood the idea of sisterhood. The support, the involvement, the friendship of a GROUP of women is so different from a friendship with one woman who doesn't know any of the other people that you know. I was so happy with them. It was the golden time of my BYU experience, and I needed it so desperately after Ju and Cindy had gone off and gotten married and Timothy (my now husband) had left for his mission.

When I went to Utah State and the Conley women scattered to pursue their own lives I felt adrift in a way I never had before. What made it worse was I was expecting to have an instantaneous sisterhood with my own two younger sisters who were freshman at Utah State the year I started there (that would be Kami and Kayli for those poor souls who try and keep us straight). But we hadn't lived together in four years. I didn't even know them in a meaningful way anymore. We could play together, but we couldn't SUPPORT each other.

Like Kami said, with Kayli's and my marriage our relationship changed drastically and deepened into the kind of relationship WOMEN need as wives and mothers, and when Kami was married she slipped so easily into our circle. Not that I think you have to be married to be part of a supportive group of women, but you definitely need some life experience, and marriage instantly ages and matures people--at least, it should.

So when I read about sisterhood, about the kind of support that Lily was receiving (notice, she thought of them as mother figures. She wasn't yet ready to be part of their sisterhood on a woman level, but she could savor their support at an adopted daughter level), and I feel so tender to those women who can really and truly be there for each other. I certainly have not been as lucky as Ju. I haven't really found that kind of support anywhere that I have lived since I married, outside of my sisters. That's okay, because I have my sisters, but I often think of women in our relief societies who don't have six million siblings and don't find the support they need from other women in church. How lonely for them. How desperate they must feel sometimes.

When our old relief society presidency talked about "watchcare" being different than just visiting each other in relation to visiting teaching, I think they are talking about the kind of sisterhood that the Daughters had in Life of Bees.

Sorry that was so long and tedious, but I really did find the women's relationship in the book incredibly touching and beautiful.

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