Sunday, March 19, 2006
Is HEA real?
As most of my close friends know (and are tired of hearing about, I'm sure), I spent this past week preparing for and throwing my Mom's wedding shower. That's right--my Mom's. You see, my Mother is getting married in May. Though she lives far away, she still has friends near me from when she lived in this area, so I wanted to give her a chance to celebrate her upcoming marriage with them.
My Mother has been married before and divorced for reasons that are nobody's business but hers. Life is not easy juggling work and being a single Mom to two children still at home. With her fiance's son, she has now embraced a third. I firmly believe that no one deserves happiness more than my Mother. And she's finally found it in her late 40s. (I can say that because my Mother has no hang-ups about her age.)
I wanted to make this party a magical time--out of the ordinary, forever memorable. For some reason, I decided on an arabian nights theme. Halfway through the project, both my mother-in-law and I wondered what I had gotten us into, but the end result was magical. A flower-strewn canopy, candles, chocolate fountain, petit fours (nectar of the gods!), and touches of gold everywhere. Watching my Mother laugh and talk with her friends while lounging on pillows of burgundy, gold, blue, and green made me realize happily ever after is real.
As romance writers, we are often criticized for writing books that give women unrealistic expectations. Telling them there is a knight in shining armor out there who will carry them into the sunset. The Playfriends have actually discussed this on more than one ocassion, because we want our books to end with happily ever after--but not a cheesy one. I think HEA works best when it grows out of who your characters are: their goals, their dreams, their secret jokes, their hopes for the future. Not just the generic "getting married and having a baby" type ending (not that there's anything wrong with that.).
Why is it unrealistic for women to hope for the best? To believe there is someone out there who will treasure them for who they are and what they have to offer? It may not happen the way they expect it, but it can happen! Just look at my Mother. Will she still have to deal with problems at work and moody teenagers? Sure. We all have issues. But she's happy and in love, which only makes me want to gag ocassionally. ;) Her fiance is literally a white knight who arrived in a horse trailer (close enough). Cliche though it may sound, love can see you through a lot. And I know that from my own Happily Ever After!
So to my Mother--keep believing in happily ever after. You deserve it! The same goes for women everywhere.
The pictures are from the shower. From left to right, that's me, my mother-in-law, and my Mom.