Every day, every one of us makes hundreds of decisions. As a matter of fact, a study by Cornell University found that we make more than 200 daily decisions just about food! (Personally, I suspect I’m above the curve on that score. For me, chocolate choices alone “tip the scales” in that direction.)
I have no statistical information on this, but instinct tells me that the average woman has to make more decisions in a day than the average man. And one thing I am absolutely certain: today’s women face more decisions, and weightier ones, than our grandmothers ever did.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not pining for the old “Father Knows Best” days when men made all the choices for their wives and the only career paths open to women were nursing, teaching, or marriage. But, no matter your age or level of life experience, the smorgasbord of choices we face today – marital, relational, educational, vocational, reproductive, domestic, professional, and financial – can be daunting, even paralyzing.
Liza Burgess, one of the main characters in A Thread So Thin, the third of my Cobbled Court novels, understands exactly what I mean. In her last year of college and teetering on the cusp of independent womanhood, Liza is stunned at the number and magnitude of choices she is now expected to make. When Garret, her long-time boyfriend and the son of her unofficial second mom, Evelyn Dixon, owner of the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop, surprises her with an incredibly romantic and wholly unexpected proposal of marriage, Liza doesn’t know how to respond. And when she is offered the job of a lifetime in far-off Chicago, things get even more complicated – and confusing. As Liza says, “The way I see it, the older you get, the more chance there is that the choices you make now will screw up the whole rest of your life.”
She may have a point.
Things aren’t any easier for the more senior members of the Cobbled Court Quilt Circle. With her mastectomies behind her, and her business finally on more stable footing, Evelyn Dixon is looking forward to a quiet and restful winter in the charming village of New Bern, Connecticut. But her boyfriend, Charlie Donnelly, owner of the Grill on the Green restaurant, has other things on his mind – mainly marriage to Evelyn.
Evelyn loves everything about Charlie – his good looks, Irish brogue, dry sense of humor, and generous heart. And he cooks, too! If she’d met Charlie thirty years earlier, Evelyn would have jumped at his proposal. But what a woman wants from life and love at fifty is different than what she wants at twenty. And Evelyn has been scorched by love’s flame before. For the first time in her life, she is enjoying her independence. Why did Charlie choose this moment to press his suit, just when she’s worried about Garret and Liza’s future and trying to figure out what to do about her mother? Eighty-year-old Virginia is twice the quilter Evelyn is – and twice as stubborn, too, especially when it comes to considering Evelyn’s suggestion that Virginia leave Wisconsin and move to New Bern. Virginia is adamant; she doesn’t want or need her daughter’s help. Evelyn isn’t so sure.
So much for enjoying a quiet and restful winter in sleepy New England.
Whether you’ve been following my Cobbled Court series from the start or you’re making your first armchair visit to the village of New Bern, you’re sure to relate to this tale of friendship, family, love, and the choices we must make in their name. Some of the choices that Liza, Evelyn, and the other characters who people the pages of A Thread So Thin make will surprise you, some may make you clap your hands and cheer, or brush back a tear, but one thing you can be sure of is that each of these characters will make a good decision, the right decision, for herself.
Isn’t that what we all hope to do? And (the paper versus plastic conundrum notwithstanding) don’t you feel lucky to live in a time when people, and women especially, can make their own choices? I know I do.
But, what about you? How have the choices you’ve made impacted your life? Is there a decision you faced in the past, an opportunity you seized or let slide that if you had that chance, you’d make differently today?