Because I so like Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea and its wisdom on aging, love, solitude and contentment, I just had to read The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. I hadn't even heard of this book until a friend told me recently. This story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life is historical fiction, so the timeline and many details are historical.
There was so much I didn't know about the woman who had married Charles Lindbergh. She stayed in the background during much of their married life so not much was written about her. She was an accomplished aviator and navigator herself, but many of us hadn't known that. She had married her hero, Lucky Lindy, and was content to walk in his shadow for much of their married life. However, there's an interesting point in the book where Anne's mother is dying. Anne told her mother that she was her hero. But her mother adamantly told her to stop looking for heroes (knowing she'd married her hero, too). "Only the weak need heroes and heroes need those around them to remain weak. You're not weak," her mother told her.
As Anne pondered those words, recognizing the truth of them, she kept working—both on her manuscript for Gift from the Sea and on her marriage, or the definition of her marriage. Up until that time her marriage had been defined by Charles. He set the tone and made all decisions. After her mother's words, her prayer for their marriage was that it would be one of two equals. "With separate—but equally valid—views of the world; shared goggles no more, but looking at the same scenery, at the same time," as the book says.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh found her voice in later life—and we are fortunate that she shared so many of her life learnings in Gift from the Sea. She found her own passions later in life, too, even while she recognized both the gifts and trials of marriage to such a larger-than-life hero. It isn't too late! Do you have something waiting to be expressed? A dream waiting to be brought to life? Some gift that's as yet unopened?