Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Anne Tyler Day

You can love your children so much that it almost hurts, but you can also have days when you wonder just how much more of motherhood you can handle.

My little sister and I call the latter "Anne Tyler Days."

In a Ladder of Years, Anne Tyler's thirteenth novel, the protagonist, middle-aged Delia Grinstead is in her kitchen. Hmmm....at least I think she's in her kitchen. I'm always in MY kitchen when I have these thoughts. At any rate...Delia Grinstead is listening to her difficult husband and her full-of-attitude teens one morning. She opens the front door, walks out and heads to the beach. As she's walking along the sand, she thinks "I wish I'd thought to bring my purse." Because she has, all of a sudden, decided not to return home. Delia Grinstead walks away from all the turmoil and angst and frustration in her home. She becomes a runaway wife and mother. She hitches a ride to another community, finds a job as a secretary and lives an altogether different life than the one she abandoned.

So, when I call my sister or when she calls me and announces, "I'm having an Anne Tyler Day," it means we want to push open our front door and walk away from the whole mess called motherhood. Now, to be fair, we've never actually done this. We've never even come close. But we do love our little code.

So, if any of you ever phone or email me to say you're having an Anne Tyler Day, you won't have to give any more explanation than that. I'll understand exactly what you mean.

p.s. If I ever do act upon an Anne Tyler Day, I will NOT forget my purse!


Beth said...

I actually took an “Anne Tyler” day (once) after a long weekend at the cottage taking care of six children amidst black flies and lousy weather. Came home, packed a bag and went to my mother’s. One night only. And I took my purse. ;)
Not a particularly great adventure, but a great (and much needed) temporary escape.

laughingwolf said...

atd sounds great, even for dads ;) lol

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Thanks for letting us into the club! I feel somewhat relieved just knowing there is terminology for this. :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loved her first eight or so novels. Much like John Irving. Maybe at Breathing Lessons. Then it began to seem like done there, did that. I felt like I'd lost a close friend.

Sarah Laurence said...

I remember that book. What was so depressing was that she didn't escape to an exciting new life or miss her old one much. Thelma and Louise was more upbeat, uh, minus the ending.

So if you are having an Anne Tyler Day (love it!), would you also bring your laptop?

My husband is taking the kids to England to visit his family for 10 days over the summer. I'm using the time at home to write and to paint. I crave creative space more than anything.

All moms should get a break sometimes. Now you've got me worrying about your egg-compulsive chameleon.

Maureen McGowan said...

Ha! Anne Tyler Days. Love it.

And love her. She's one of my favorites.