Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Being Marilla*

Yesterday I sent an e-mail to my sister and my mom about Lily’s being excited about the wheelchair she saw in the American Girl Doll catalog. Lily already has the first-aid kit for dolls, complete with crutches and a cast, and now she wants the wheelchair. My sister sent this in response:

i feel like you have anne of green gables for a daughter, and sometimes you're very marilla about it.

At first I spluttered in righteous indignation, wounded to the very depths of my soul, as Anne would say.  I am NOT Marilla, not at all. I read and re-read the Anne of Green Gables books over and over again. I wanted desperately to be Anne. I wanted to be tall and willowy. I wanted red hair (still do). I loved that I had green-gray eyes like Anne. I loved that I had freckles. I loved Anne’s independence and spirit of adventure and imagination.

How could I possibly be like calm, practical Marilla?

But the more I thought about it yesterday, I realized that what I loved so much about Anne were the qualities she had but I didn’t. I had a great imagination, but I never shared it with anyone. I never wanted to go on great adventures, preferring instead to read about them. I never took dares or broke rules. Unlike Anne, I would have never walked the ridge pole on a dare or cracked a slate over Gilbert’s head.

Lily, on the other hand, really is like Anne. She has a wonderful imagination and regularly involves her friends in her play acting and dramas. She is always up for an adventure. Like Anne, Lily can go from the depths of broken-hearted despair over an incident to the highest of highs over an accomplishment or treat. Puffy sleeves would send her over the moon with joy. All of these things are what make Lily Lily and are what make me love her so much.

So here I am, Marilla to Lily’s Anne.

And like Marilla, I’m going to love Lily with all my heart and do my best to keep her on track without squelching the very things that make her so wonderful. As long as she doesn’t break a slate over some boy’s head.

*This post will really only make sense if you’ve read Anne of Green Gables. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it.


knittergran said... wanted to be an orphan?
Dad said that wanting a wheelchair reminded him of a certain contestant in Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Keeffer said...

the contestant in DDG wanted to be deaf, not in a wheelchair. the other contestant was in a wheelchair because of an eating disorder.

and you have to admit heather, you roll your eyes at lily's imagination more than you go along with it. just like marilla would have done.

Unknown said...

I love that your family is having a while debate about this!!!! gotta love a reading family!

I never wanted to be Anne but I did want to be Emily of New Moon...(and I still want to live on Prince Edward Island, I LOVE it there)

joanna said...

Well you know how much I like an Anne reference post and this is another great one. Hide your currant wine! Hooray for the Anne's of the world.

Barb Matijevich said...

I love a good literary put down. And I love Anne. In fact, if I ever have any money again, I want to travel to Canada and take the Anne tour. I am an Anne, with two Anne daughters. (Although one of them has a touch of Marilla about her on occasion.)

Liz @ ewmcguire said...

I love that puffy sleeves would send her over the moon!