The story is one of reflection, thinking about what might have been, but being happy anyway.
Once again, although my father did say these exact words to me, it is a work of fiction....I have never varnished my toe nails and am a dreadful cook.
The words are:
"When I was 10, I asked my father what subjects I should take at school and what I should be when I grew up. He said it didn’t matter because I would be a wife and mother and my husband would look after me. He said it was important for me to learn to cook and to look pretty. My brothers were furious at my escape from supposed drudgery and toil.
So I made sure I fulfilled my parents expectations and married at 16 to the first man who’d have me. I made a really good sponge cake, and varnished my toe nails.
My brothers were stupid. What could be more demanding and time consuming than being a mother. It’s the ultimate career and every other career exists to support it. I did the work of 20 for free, and lived in heaven and hell at the same time. I was racked with self-doubt, panic, insecurity, tiredness and indignity. I found strengths I didn’t know I had and suffered fears I didn’t know existed. I found that happiness is made up of tiny moments and wasn’t an ultimate destination. I learned how unselfish I could be, and forged chains of flesh and blood.
I often used to wonder what would have happened if my father had expectations beyond a wife and mother for me, say, an astronaut. Now I’m older, I wonder if he chose the hardest career of all."