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What do you mean Renee isn’t the model parent?

Dear LTTers,

Let me tell you a quick story before today’s real letter. Once upon a time UC was a college student at a small Christian Liberal arts school in Indiana. One night she boarded a plane to Philadelphia from Indianapolis and was seated with a fellow classmate whom she had never met before. They hit it off & promised to stay in touch. I believe there was maybe a hello from across the Dining Commons once they returned to school, but soon UC transferred to a different school and all promises were forgotten. Flash forward many years… UC graduated, UC got married, UC adopted 2 cats, UC fell for this thing called Twilight and this is where we pick up the story:

AmanDUH wishes she had this for her Wal-mart trips

One day after a lively discussion of Twilight & Religion and after tweeting the tales of wearing one’s Christian Twilight T-shirt to Wal-mart, UC received an email from someone claiming she attending that very same small Christian school in Indiana. They exchanged pleasantries via email, discussed their love for the local ice cream shop near campus & tried to find out if they had any friends in common. Then the LTT reader mentioned something she called “random.” She remembered sitting next to a girl on a plane with the same name as UC on a flight to Philadelphia. Were that girl & UC perhaps one in the same? A lightbulb went off in UC’s head- she pictured this LTT reader EXACTLY and all the promises they made to keep in touch after that one fateful plane ride. And the rest is history. One small, seemingly unimportant moment back in 2002 was revisited and two lost acquaintances were joined together- all because of Twilight, Letters TO Twilight and probably also a little bit because of Buttcrack Santa (Gah- I miss him).

There IS a point to my, I mean UC, sharing this more than it’s just a fun story about UC’s past…. ThePlaneFriend (as I just now named her) is a writer- a very GOOD writer & in fact has an incredible true life story I’m just betting you’ll see in book form some day (no- she wasn’t Cathy Hardi’s 2nd choice for Bella- good guess though). But for now she’s been writing us LTTs- and good ones. So today for the first time ever and much to the surprise of the 19 & 20 year olds we were when we met years ago- ThePlaneFriend writes her first LTT to someone I’m not sure we’ve EVER written to!

Dear Renee,

As a fellow mom, let’s level.

In Twilight, I generally thought you were a pretty normal parent—with one glaring exception. It was what? At least 2003, your only daughter was moving in with her dad and you couldn’t cough up enough for a cell phone? Really? (I know you were a teacher and a single parent and all, but I feel like your budget might stretch far enough for a pay-as-you-go phone or something—especially when you were managing to find the money to trot all over the country to join Phil for his baseball games).

I was totally with you for getting annoyed with Bella when she didn’t contact you right after arriving in Forks. My daughter better always call as soon as she arrives someplace—although I plan to lock her up forever after hearing about those insane wolf pack kids from a few posts ago—so she might not ever be going anywhere to have an opportunity to disobey that rule.

I even understand how you’d be a little creeped out by the fantastically gorgeous Edward who won’t leave your daughter’s hospital room once she’s injured. I’m not sure I’d be rooting for my 17-year-old to be overly-involved with a boy that intense. But then again, he’s Edward, so it might be hard for any of us moms to remember that we’re married and not try to steal him away, who knows?

So my real question is, by the middle of New Moon, what happens to you?

Your daughter has been catatonic over this boy leaving her and you’re still just sending her emails that sound like journal entries? C’mon! You still can’t call her?

Then, as we head into Eclipse, Edward is back, you see how he’s possibly even more intense about Bella, and your only comment to your daughter is that you feel like you’re missing some secret in their relationship? You don’t even ask her if she’s doing him or not? (I won’t have to ask this question of my daughter as she will not be mangling pillows/gouging out headboards with anyone but her husband, and maybe not even then). If you do think she’s at it with him, wouldn’t you want to check to make sure she’s being safe so that she doesn’t have a baby right out of high school like you did? Although, as a side note, I’m pretty sure latex wouldn’t hold up against vampire venom, so maybe we can let that one slide.

And I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t even get me started on your behavior in Breaking Dawn. You can’t be pried away from wedding decorations to hang with your kid? Please! Once she’s married, and supposedly has some crazy rare disease, you wait until a few weeks after she’s mending to call (or do you want to claim that Jasper and Alice’s powers suddenly heightened and—from a looong distance—they were able to calm down your mood and control your future decisions? Oh, wait, you don’t know they’re vamps. That excuse won’t work).

I have to say, you’re a very strange sort of mother. I don’t care how young you were when you had Bella…or how much you’re enjoying reclaiming your lost years as a wild newlywed with Phil. In my opinion, you have a lot to answer for. Charlie is clearly the better parent.

A Concerned Mom

Oh Burrrnnnnnnnnnn!!!!

I sure hope they pick me. I get kind of lonely by myself…

So what do you think? In the big debate of Charlie vs Renee (which maybe we had once long ago) Who wins? The Hair-brained mother, whose movie portrayal was clearly mirrored after Cathy Hardi? Or the born-again-virgin who knows how to rock a copstache’ like no other?

Our internet game is ridiculous: LTR, The Forum, Twitter, The Store

  • ThePlaneFriend

    Ok, someone hyperventilate with me–Stephenie Meyer is going to read something I wrote–and in it, I’m making fun of her characters! AHHH! (I know UC and Moon are used to this pressure, but it’s new to me!)

    P.S. UC, I like your name for me better than the one I chose. I think I’ll stick with it!

    • Stacey

      That’s a great letter! I am so glad that you and UC reconnected!

      • ThePlaneFriend

        Thanks for the complimet.

        And I was so excited to find UC again. It was just so random!

    • TeamJacobEdward

      I know, I felt the same way when UC posted my letter back at the end of April. At least you didn’t talk about how awkward life might be after Breaking Dawn… Edward hearing Jacobs naughty thoughts about Renesmee and other embarrassing things I still cringe about when I think Stephenie probably read it.

      Like Stacy said, it was a great letter with great thoughts! 🙂

      • ThePlaneFriend

        Glad to know I am not alone in the freaking out category…and I agree that thinking through the Jacob-imprint-but-Edward-could-read-his-mind would lend itself to much more cringe-worthy material 🙂

    • teamjacobsfatherinlaw

      Thought provoking letter, very true. Although I don’t know if I’m in any position to judge Renee- my 6 y.o. won’t let me rub the sunscreen in after I put it on her face because she “wants to look like Rosalie”. That’s right folks, nominate me for Mother of the Year @ http://www.socialservices.com

  • superhumanmoron

    Renee sucks. I get it that it accounts for Bella being so grown-up and responsible and all, but definite parenting fail.

  • Bea

    Renee’s the child, SM makes that pretty clear… and Charlie’s a grown-up, but stunted in the parenting department due to lack of experience. But it works out for Bella in the end. If she’d actually gotten a childhood she wouldn’t have been nearly mature enough to attract a centenarian. And then where would we all be? Reading a story about a boring girl in Phoenix with her responsible mom?
    P.S. Renee’s good to remember when feeling discouraged about my own parenting skills. I could do worse!

    • chochang

      dear bea,

      are u really stephenie meyer?

      • Bea

        Nope. Have we guessed every regular commentor yet?

        • The Old One

          I’m putting my money on Fangbanger, just for the name!

    • “If she’d actually gotten a childhood she wouldn’t have been nearly mature enough to attract a centenarian.”

      This. FTW!

    • Michelle

      Dang girlfriend you broke out some serious tweed this morning and it’s ALL dead-on! 😉 Impressive…esp since I’m still trying to wake up at 10:35 a.m.
      Well said…well said.

      • Bea

        Ah, but I’d been up almost three hours, plenty long to change out of pjs and into tweed.

  • I think Renee is actually an integral part of the story. Scratch that, not Renee herself, but the fact that she married a baseball player named Phil is a major, in fact the biggest point of the story. See, if she hadn’t married Phil, she wouldn’t have had to move around all over the country and that in turn would never have forced Bella to move in to Charlie’s place at Forks, the place she previously hated. And if she hadn’t moved to Forks, she wouldn’t have met Edward Cullen and therefore wouldn’t have had that demon spawn of his and be stuck in that rainy little town 4EVA, literally.

    • TeamSeth

      So, what you’re saying is that Renee’s parenting skills are irrelevant since she’s just the catalyst for the rising action?

      • Nope, I didn’t comment on her parenting skills. I was merely pointing out the fact that even though she’s present in 5 pages throughout the entire series, her being married to Phil is the trigger that sets off the story and lands Bella in Forks.

        • TeamSeth

          Oops! I forgot my winky face! :S

  • coopercohennichol

    i lost respect for charlie when he let bella leave for AZ – i mean its the middle of the night and your 17yr old daughter storms in the house and says she’s gonna drive from WA to AZ – and u just let her go! Charlie needs to grow a set when it comes to bella…

    • ThePlaneFriend

      You know, I never really thought about that in depth before, but I’d have to agree. That’s a major parenting fail too!

    • Fully agree that this makes no sense. As a parent, I say this just would NOT happen in RL. I mean, I get why SM had to write it this way, so I’ll go with it, but for real – NO.

    • claire’s mommy

      Oh amen sister. She’s a 17 year old girl, he’s a cop. Just a guess, but I’m pretty sure he could have stopped her. I mean hello, when i was 17 my grandma and mom stopped me when I was trying to go across town.

      • dreamingofforks

        My dad WAS a cop when I was growing up. You had better believe he knew where I was almost all the time. This always really bothered me about Charlie….from not going after Bella in Twilight to putting up with the mysterious illness in Breaking Dawn. My dad so would have been busting the door down….gun drawn….if no one was giving him information about his 18 year old daughter…married or not!

    • Agree to Disagree

      I agree that this was SLIGHTLY strange, but not completely out of the question. I know several children who moved out at an early age. My husband had his own apartment at 16 and a cousin of mine actually moved to CA at 14 to finish HS early and go to USC.

      If Charlie hasn’t been a full-time parent to Bella until she is 17, she is going to be in control of herself – almost like the Step-dad/mom syndrome (“You’re not my dad!”) He hasn’t had any authority in her life before now, so all of a sudden she is going to bow down to anything he says? Doubt it. He was probably so shocked about the whole thing because everything seemed to be going so well in Forks and with Edward, that he didn’t even know what to do in the 10 whole minutes that she was home. Just my opinion. I am very much a Bella myself, working full time and planning a wedding at 17, paying my parents rent. I could have moved out and there is nothing they could have said or done to stop me if that is what I had chose.

      • Hmmm. I hear you, makes sense.

        I guess it’s just not how I would see things going were I the parent. But, as my husband often points out, we’d be horrible as characters in books or movies because we’d always make such REASONABLE choices. Nothing interesting would ever happen.

    • The Old One

      There’s much more concern and discussion on Charlie’s part about Bella driving to Seattle on the hypothetical shopping trip than about her driving to Arizona. Perhaps he feels guilty about being a bad dad and figures if she wants to go back to her mom, then he should let her.
      On the other hand, aren’t Renee and Phil already moved to Jacksonville by then?

      • Its no irritable grizzly…

        Bella emotionally stumped Charlie when she left for Arizona remember?? That was like the one stab and he just didnt how to react or what to say after that , it brought back all his self esteem issues that stemmed from Renee leaving him and he just stared at her and wallowed…you know?? It makes sense to me

        And just for fun imagine what Edward would have done if Charlie wouldnt have let her go?

    • ladyofthemeadow

      Charlie’s lack of parenting skills in response to Bella saying she’s driving to AZ and would stop at a motel (!!) was so distracting, I almost stopped identifying with Bella and started worrying for Charlie and his lack of parental control. And as a cop, he should know the danger to Bella. Don’t get me started on how neither Renee nor Charlie insisted on seeing Bella once she contracted the mysterious disease.

      Major plot fail.

      On the other hand, if Charlie needs to learn some parenting skills, I’m offering myself (snicker).

  • Definately Charlie as the better parent – he hasn’t seen Bella for how long? He steps up, he has “the sex talk”, he grounds her for her Italian escapade and he does all this when Renee does what? Yoga? Meditation? Tries to get in touch with her inner technological demons and learns how to text? Of course she is a bad mother! How could you not check your baby girl who’s having boy trouble and severe depression because of it? Tsk tsk…

    • alisheeba

      In new moon Renee did fly to Forks and tried to bring Bella home during the first week after Edward left and Bella was in a “catatonic state”. Apparently she “woke up” long enough to flip out and pull a huge fit in order to stay in Forks.

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  • Sassysmart

    Renee is my mother. And in all honesty she views it as friends instead of parent/child. Sucks for Bella but Charlie is the better parent.

  • As neither parent is spectacular, I volunteer to adopt Beller.

    Plus I could be Edward’s mother-in-law. That would be creepyhawt. 😉

    • Creepyhawt. My favorite word of the day is born.

      • fangbanger


        • You KNOW I love it when “Beller” is dropped

          • igoogleit

            *waves* Hi, and ignorant here, who/what is Beller?

          • Luludee


            Some British accents (in this case, I believe either Rob or Michael Sheen was the culprit) sometimes pronounce words ending with an “a” as “er.” Thus Bella sounds like Beller.

          • The Old One

            Both of them have said it, Michael Sheen in New Moon (“Beller’s alive!), and Rob in at least one interview.

          • igoogleit

            thank u sooo much!!! =)

  • halogen

    You are so right it is a horrible absence especially at New Moon. In what universe in this era of over-involved parents does a mom of this generation leave her daughter so thoroughly alone for months?

    My theory is that it is a version of the classic children’s story technique of making the parents absent or irrelevant, and making sure that the girl really has no adult woman to turn to. It is one step away from having Bella be an orphan, because Bella has to confront these things by herself and grow and evolve because of them.

    • The Old One

      You smart.

      • halogen

        you sweet! I think I am saying what other people are saying too, it makes sense for the book for the parents to be a little absent, but it sure wouldn’t make sense in reality!

  • x.rosa.lie

    Charlie = DILF

    • What she said.

    • teamjacobsfatherinlaw

      I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for drinking Vitamin R

  • chochang

    hold up. renee was a teacher??!

    • *twi-nerd alert*

      In the beginning of New Moon (the book), Bella starts talking about how Edward and the Cullens have a lot of money and that’s when she mentioned that she hadn’t lived on much money since “Renee was a school teacher and Charlie wasn’t getting rich anytime soon.”

    • ldazzled18

      It seems like she was a pre-school teacher or maybe a substitute. Teachers don’t make much, but we could afford a cell phone!

    • Keisha

      Yeah, I believe she was a kindergarten teacher. But I read a lot of FF so I could have grabbed it from there. Oops

    • dreamingofforks

      Wait…your comment about Renee being a teacher got me thinking. Wouldn’t a teacher, after 4 years of child development courses and such, know a little more about raising a child. Kind of makes Renee even more unbelievable as a character. Not sure I would want to be leaving my 5 year old to a flake for a teacher. Most teachers I know are usually complaining about parents like her.

      I still love the story and frankly my mom was sometimes like Renee, but just saying.

      • Stacey

        Maybe she wasn’t “actually” a teacher. Maybe a teacher’s aide…nope…cafeteria worker or bus driver. They work in school system’s, but don’t actually need to know how to teach children. (not to diminish the work of cafeteria workers or bus drivers, but they don’t really need to know the ins and outs of child development and I don’t think Renee knows about child development either.

        • TeamSeth

          I think that anyone in the public education system is required to go through certain training regarding kids. Especially in spotting things like neglect and abuse. If a kid never eats or is always late to the bus/spotty attendance, it can be a sign of potential issues at home. Even though teachers and administrators are more likely to catch these things, the other employees do need to watch for them as well.
          I remember in my elementary years, the lunch room aide asked me if I bit my nails and I lied and said no and she told me that I shouldn’t lie. Maybe in that case it’s not official training, but obviously she made an impact on my childhood development… (and why am i sharing this on a public blog lol)

          • Stacey

            Most places yes, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, where I grew up you only needed a valid driver’s license and to pass a background check. Which was usually fine, but sometimes some people who didn’t understand children slipped through the cracks.

      • claire’s mommy

        Yes. She was a kindergarten teacher. I’m starting child development classes this fall and I think I’m doing better than Renee.

    • ThePlaneFriend

      Unless I’m mistaken, Renee was a kindergarten teacher in Phoenix and then started subbing in Jacksonville.

      • TeamSeth

        Frankly, with the state of education layoffs in Florida, she’s lucky as hell to have a sub job coming with an out-of-state certificate. That’s all I’m saying.

  • toooldforthis

    I was on board with Charlie until Eclipse.

    Then he took the side of the boy who just assaulted his daughter. Not cool, Charlie!

    I wanted Bella to leave home right then and there, and move in with Edward. At least then she’d have Carlisle and Esme as parents.

    It’s pretty sad when vampires make better parents than you.

  • Vera

    Charles is NO better than Renee. He´s never called Edward for man to man conversation and preferred to shift responsibility to Jacob, instead.

  • claire’s mommy

    That whole “we were too young” spiel is such BS. I was only 18 when I had my son who’s now 2, but I’m not using it as an excuse to be a crappy parent. Come on Charlie and Renee, grow some balls and a brain.

  • I guess since Renee is just a hindrance to the story so she doesn’t make that many appearances in the book. They could’ve easily fixed her parenting image in the movies though, by showing some concerned e-mails of her in Bella’s inbox in New Moon, or having Bella sorting through a few of her postcards before finding Jake’s letter in Eclipse.

    On another note, I’m glad I finally know what that colorful thing is that lies between Bella and Edward in the ‘why are you so against me becoming like you?’-scene, the one that appeared in the first trailer. It’s the t-shirt quilt! Now that was sweet, wasn’t it?

    • kristen’s bestie

      I noticed that too! Now we know it wasn’t a bag of chips!

      • Keisha

        Yes, Edward is trying to say that being a vampire is not all that and a bag of chips.

    • twigirl_world

      That quilt was driving me nuts! I was like, what are they laying on? Good to have that mystery solved!

  • sonata

    So, here’s my thought. From everything I’ve read, SM seems like a really good parent. ya know, the whole taking a year off to be with my family, not getting swept up in the media and limelight, etc.

    So I am wondering about her writing of lackluster parents. Renee and Phil for starters, but then even Bella and Edward later on (although I understand where Bella gets her mothering skills, but c’mon…I expect better from Edward).

    and really? I get she’s virtually indestructable and you’re a vamp and he’s a werewolf…but buy the spawn a carseat.

    speaking of Renee…uh, what happens to her in BD? We get the whole Charlie thing, but does Renee not call her daughter for months after the wedding? Are we back to emails again? Is Alice hacking Bella’s email account and sending fake emails to Mother Dearest?

    Also, speaking of Mothers, why is Esme the only character without her backstory in the books?

    I suppose in all fairness, the Webbers seem to be good parents. Angela has turned out ok. Can’t even make a good crackfic outta her character.

    • KatyTX77

      Yes the lack of Renee is Breaking Dawn is disturbing.

      I so want Esme’s backstory. I love reading about all of the vamp’s prior lives.

      I do not want a book about Carlisle. He is sooooo boring. Stephanie should never write a book about Carlisle. 😉

    • dreamingofforks

      “…get she’s virtually indestructable and you’re a vamp and he’s a werewolf…but buy the spawn a carseat.”

      Totally agree….I was really distracted by this the first time I read BD. What no car seat….even vamps need to follow the laws to some degree. Especially since Bella states that she doesn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention on the way to Seattle. Duh…kid sitting in your lap will do that for most cops.

      • snowwhitedrifted

        I was BOTHERED by the lack of car seats too. I mean, Charlie’s a cop for goodness sake, he could bring home a pamphlet for Bella on car seat safety.

        “Buckle Bear” does not approve.

        • claire’s mommy

          You and me both! I know she’s grow out of them pretty quick but it’s not as if they don’t have enough money to buy new ones!

      • I couldn’t stop thinking about Baby Vamp not sitting in a carseat.

      • teamjacobsfatherinlaw

        Please, on the way home from the hospital after I was born, my mom held me in the front seat of the Impala- no seatbelts, holding a cigarette.

    • Bea

      The Lexicon got us Esme’s backstory from SM, she just didn’t manage to fit it into the books. See: http://twilightlexicon.com/2006/03/11/personal-correspondance-1/

  • chochang

    you ought to win a fake prize for remembering that much. 😀 i hardly know how to spell renees-ajghaogha-meee.. as for myself, i win today’s #fanfail award.

    • chochang

      aye! this was supposed to be a reply to “Rob’s slow mo’ strut”.. first, #fanfail. and then #commentfail *headdesk*

    • “renees-ajghaogha-meee..”

      I’ll try and think of something witty to reply (not likely though) as soon as I stop laughing at that…

  • Stacey

    I feel that I can truly speak as a mom today, for I was running around wearing “Mom” Tevas, dragging two small children around doing errands and the baby boy peed in my face. Yay to being a mom, this fine morning.

    Both Renee & Charlie have questionable moments of parenting. Renee has quite a bit more, plus my goodness that peak a boo thong is seared into my brain. No wonder Bella is desperate to join the Cullens. They probably feel like the most stable family unit on the world. But Charlie didn’t reallyhet a chance to parent, so he gets additional points for trying to figure it out. Plus, he’s got that rockin’ stache!

    • snowwhitedrifted

      LOL @ “mom TEVA’s”. Can I borrow them? They will go well with my “park pants”.

      • Stacey

        Of course you can! And I’ll add in my baby spitup tee shirt in as well. Cause that’s all types of HOT!

        • Aaaand pull the look together by toodling around town in your sweet mom ride – aka the minivan.

          Don’t tell me moms don’t rock.

      • Bea

        I love that you have designated “park pants.” So my life.

    • Obava

      Uh oh. *whispers* I wear tevas…what are mom tevas?!

      • Stacey

        They are regular tevas, but paired with the previously mentioned spitup shirt, frazzled hair and used for running into a store to purchase the diapers you just ran out of. When worn with a cute, Alice approved beach ensemble they become non mom tevas, even when being worn by a mom.

        • snowwhitedrifted

          Exactly. Mom tevas are for errands when you will only run into other mom’s in funky footwear and sweatpants. I like to Klass it up for a Saturday Target trip though, so I go with mom Mephistos. I’m swanky.

  • KatyTX77

    The lack of parenting in the books has always bothered me.
    Charlie is the better parent by far (which isn’t saying much). I did not like Charlie much at all until I saw Billy Burke play him. It is hard for my to judge fathers as mine was basically not involved in my life. I don’t think that Charlie knew what he was doing, he loves Bella, but he wasn’t involved for so long. He knew Bella as a little girl and struggles to get to know her as a young woman.

    Hmm, Renee is the “friend” parent. From the backstory, it seems that most of rearing of Bella has centered on what Mom wants to do, not what is best for the kiddo. She is more concerned that Bella likes her and is having a good time.

    I have always thought that one of the major things that Bella loved about Edward was his family. She didn’t have that. Bella really never had any type of support system from her parents. James and Victoria are after her in the first book and the Cullens vow to protect to her. I do not at all doubt her love for Edward. However, I have always felt that one of her reasons for loving him so much was his family.

    • Bea

      Moral of the story: have a strong family unit or your kid will go looking for it elsewhere… and likely find it somewhere you don’t like. Like with vampires.

  • twigirl_world

    I must say SM did a way better job than the jokers did for Nightlight? Anyone read that junk?
    But I too am a mother and was not happy with Renee’s parenting.
    The thing that got me was that she missed her only daughters, only childs, graduation! That just wouldn’t fly in my house.
    But I am reminded this is just fiction. It probably works better for Bella to have her mom be absent for the things she is going through.
    If she was all up in Bella’s business like I would have been then there would have been an extra 100pgs per book of Renee hounding Bella.
    So I still love SM:)

    • kristen’s bestie

      I tried, I couldn’t even finish it. It was total crap and I was hoping for a funny spoof of Twilight.

    • ThePlaneFriend

      I definitely agree that Renee’s cameos were a necessary part of keeping tangents out of the story. It’s just funny to be a mom reading YA fiction and going “Yeah, I’d WANT CPS visiting my house if I were that out of it!”

  • FreakyBella

    Where’d you go to school in Indiana? I live in Indiana…

    • Taylor! It’s in Upland.

      • Luludee

        Haha, UC’s been all over Taylor. :wink, wink:

    • Can’t believe I like this shit

      Me too 🙂 I’m the chick at (theater I won’t name because I’m afraid it might identify me) wearing my huge Chanel sunnies trying to be inconspicuous by going to see Eclipse during non-peak hours for the fourth time!

  • operarose

    This was a good letter – can’t believe we haven’t ragged on Renee more around here!

    Renee is to “bad mothers” as the Cullens are to “clueless about dangers other vampires could inflict on them (hello, they’re creating a vampire army to attack you guys, Carlisle…) and vampire-human pregnancy odds”. But I digress, because today isn’t about the Cullens.

    I am first of all grateful that Bella did not go to live with Charlie because her mom died. In sooo so so many young adult books, especially those with a fantasy theme, the main character has one or two parents who pass away. Tragedy does happen to young adults, but I just find the sheer number of books with main characters with deceased parents to be a little unrealistic and cliche at this point.

    With keeping Bella’s parents alive, Stephenie then had the task of keeping them out of the way enough so that they didn’t interfere with the main events of the storyline, while maintaining a realistic daughter-parent relationship. I figured she did ok with this. I think that Renee could have called more without interfering with the story. Because, yes, a concerned mother would have definitely called vs. emailed! But overall, I think she appeared in the books the right amount of time and with the exception of a few times, came off as reasonably realistic. It helps that she was pegged from the beginning as the scatterbrained mom and Charlie as the clueless, inexperienced dad.

    With all that said, when my mom read the series, her main feedback was “Bella has a terrible mom!”

    • snowwhitedrifted

      “Renee is to “bad mothers” as the Cullens are to “clueless about dangers other vampires could inflict on them (hello, they’re creating a vampire army to attack you guys, Carlisle…) and vampire-human pregnancy odds”. But I digress, because today isn’t about the Cullens.”


      I agree too, if Renee were more active in the story, or if Charlie’s was firmer, there’s no way Bella would have gotten away with anything.

      I had overprotective parents. No way I would have even gotten the mushroom ravioli without my dad giving Edward the Spanish Inquisition. And going to AZ in the middle of the night? My mom gave me a hard time when I wanted to go to Vegas with my then boyfriend, I was, wait for it….. 23!

      • TeamSeth

        Truth! Even though the ravioli was a “surprise” date, once my parents found out he had followed me to Port Angeles, that’d be it. No more Edward. Too bad, so sad.

        • Stacey

          You might not be able to see him on the outside, but I’ll bet that he’d be in your room every night watching you “sleep”. Unless, Charlie’s sitting on the rocking chair in your bedroom with the shotgun ready, he’s totally climbing through that window.

      • Stacey

        I got away with a lot of stuff when I was younger. My parents just shrugged everything off, except the nose piercing. Wait…maybe I’m like Bella only more social and without a pale, stalkerish vampire boyfriend who looks like Cedric Diggory. Oh man, that’s not fair!

        • operarose

          “a pale, stalkerish vampire boyfriend who looks like Cedric Diggory.”
          You make him sound so appealing!

          • Stacey

            You’re right Operarose! That doesn’t sound too good! I really am Team Edward! I also find Cedric Diggory very attractive. :0)

    • ThePlaneFriend

      Loved your second paragraph too! (Sorry, too lazy to quote it!)

    • operarose

      Non-overprotective parents definitely helped the story along.

      The one thing that bugged me the most was when Bella went to Florida in Eclipse with Edward. Renee just made the comment that he seemed overly protective, attached, etc. If my 18 year old daughter brought home a guy who was THAT intense, protective, and attached, even if I liked him I would give her a big fat warning and tell her to ease off and check out the other fish in the sea before she gets too attached to that creepily over-protective pale guy…

      • TeamSeth

        YES! Especially one who doesn’t seem keen to get to know me because he has to work on a term paper all weekend. The intense bf relation better put out a lot of effort get to know me.

        And it’d be an immediate call to charlie, “Hey [sexy man I wish I still was with because you’re beautiful], what’s the real deal with this Edward kid? He might be hot, but there’s something…odd…going on between them. What’s his family like? Is he always hovering? Just make sure you watch him like a hawk. I’m having Phil issue an ‘I’ll beat you down if you ever hurt Bella in any form’ warning, but you let me know if ANYTHING happens. And don’t wait until something like last fall goes down. We need to get her out of there BEFORE that. I don’t care how stubborn she is, you’re her parent. You set the rules.”

        Of course, it’s a very hard situation to be in as a parent. If you try to yank the kid out of the potentially emotionally abusive relationship, you risk them shutting you out for good.

        • ladyofthemeadow


          If there was ever a time for Renee and Charlie to present a united front and work together, this would be it.

          Coordinating birthday gifts doesn’t cut it.

          • TeamSeth

            “doesn’t cut it” And I immediately think of a papercut…normal.

  • snowwhitedrifted

    Ah man, I wish I read UC’s tweets of the wearing of the Chri-Twi shirt to Walmart.

  • cedvanhalen

    Charlie wins. Charlie always wins.

  • Stacey

    Here’s a little something for Stephenie, part on topic and part off. First, last night I heard that Lee Pace is up for the role. I might have gotten a little excited about this development on Twitter last night! As the producer, you should definitely do this. Because, he’s on my celebrity crush list and I miss Pushing Daisies. Wait, I just made Breaking Dawn all about me… Umm…

    Back on topic about moms, not cute guys. Why didn’t Bella have a boy liked she thought? Yeah, yeah… I know imprint, but isn’t the real reason that as soon as baby boy Cullen peed in Bella’s face that Rosalie would become the permanent nanny? I mean as someone stated above, there wasn’t even a CARSEAT. Maybe, Little Miss Bella did take some pointers from good old mom.

    • Luludee

      Lee Pace is up for the role of what??

      I was in deep smit with his character in Pushing Daises! I loved the whimsy of that show and was quite sad when it was cancelled 🙁
      I’ll be very excited to see him in anything.

      • Stacey

        As of last night, he was up for the role of Garritt. But, I just read that it hadn’t even been offered to him. Teaches me to listen to Eonline and BuzzSugar. Of course, now they can offer it to Matthew Morrison. More dream casting by me. But if Twilight and Glee combine it might be too awesome.

        • Rob’s flaming dashboard

          Matthew Morrison? please NOOO! Does nothing for me. Can’t Xavier be reincarnated?

          • igoogleit

            Oh yes please!

          • Stacey

            But have you seen Morrison’s abs…sorry I get distracted by them.

            Xavier is also an excellent idea. In the Twilight wig tradition, let’s just stick a brown wig on him and call him a new name. Honestly, that boy is so pretty that nobody will care in the slightest. Well, except those pesky film critics!

          • igoogleit

            i mean reincarnated Xavier

          • halogen

            OK, Xavier has a twin brother that looks EXACTLY like Xavier and he comes to Seattle to find out why his brother went missing and then turns out he had already been a vampire for years and was Edward’s friend bla bla… Ok it does’t work but I tried…

  • Robsessedgirl

    Charlie just overall is made of awesome. Renee is…..annoying. She can take her thong and hippie hat somewhere else. Have you ever watched Jimmy Fallon’s show, where they have Ultimate Mustache Fights? If Charlie’s ‘stache competed, it would OWN everyone.

  • JustGoWithIt

    Well, parenting is hard. I can totally see after basically being a single mother (how do people do it!), by the time the kids is a teenager and you can see they’re basically responsible, being okay with letting go a bit.
    I want nothing to do with my children today. I would totally be happy to just have the dog today, and go for a long walk on the beach with her (no, that would not be fun with the kids unless husband was there too, and well even then it would be more like hard work then a relaxing stroll). I have to constantly remind myself that childhood is a magical time, and they deserve to be filled with mischief and wonder, and not have a mom who is annoyed and giving into tiredness.

    • Yikes, sounds like you’re having a rough day. Me too – I just broke up several fights and scrubbed blueberries out of the carpet. If we can just hang in there…!! I’m pretty sure I’m going to ask the husband to take them for a walk after dinner while I lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling.

      • JustGoWithIt

        My 18 month old is precious and sweet, but so demanding right now. Usually I just spend as much time outside at the park as I can, and the kids are happy there, so it is more relaxing for me. But right now the little guy wanders, so half my time is spent trying to corral him back to the park so I can keep an eye on the older one. And at home he wants me there with him, participating in doing whatever he is doing. Understandable, but he doesn’t even allow for bathroom breaks. I’m calling my union rep 🙂

        • Love, love, love the toddlers. Do NOT love, love, love wandering toddlers when I have other children to watch. It makes everything…not fun.

          I feel your pain so much.

  • MichaelSheenisaDILF

    Oh how I love the LTT…you guys know how to raise a girl’s spirits when she’s having a craptastic morning.

    I do think Bella has a borderline obsession with the whole Cullen family. It’s clear that Stephenie really loves them and I think she said she unconsciously modeled them after her own family. I for one wouldn’t be cool with having a “brother” who wanted to kill me all the time and who tried to once, but hey I guess Bella thinks that’s better than having a hair-brained mother.

    • TeamSeth

      *waves* I haven’t seen you on here in a bit! I missed you! And I always miss seeing your cute dog and the sexy times thoughts of Sheen your name automatically spawns in my mind.

      Moving on…
      She totally has a Cullen fam obsession. In NM when Alice pays a “wait, you didn’t kill yourself?” visit, Bella’s feelings on the Cullens are made quite clear. When charlie tells Alice, “It wasn’t like someone had left, it was like someone had died.” Bella thinks, “Someone had died. I had died. My whole future life was taken away–my future family.” (non-direct quote, obvs, I unfortunately don’t have a copy of the saga on hand at work). To be fair, the Cullens, being vampires and all, naturally attract humans to them. So, it’d make sense that beller would be predisposed to lurve them.

      • MichaelSheenisaDILF

        Interesting point. Perhaps Stephenie is trying to tell us that single-parent families are BAD! And two-parent families with LOTS of kids are GOOD! But what does it mean that the good guys want to suck your blood? (Seriously. I’m not trying to make a statement about Mormons).

      • MichaelSheenisaDILF

        And sorry, HELLO! It’s good to get some love from you. I just actually watched a stupid movie this weekend just for Sheen–Laws of Attraction. Pretty much shite, but of course the DILF was Brillz.

        • TeamSeth

          As he always is 🙂

  • The Old One

    Just my two cents here, that Charlie and Renee are not that well-defined as characters in the books, but movie Charlie and Renee are awesome! We all love the copstache and the dad-humor from Billy Burke, but also for the five seconds Renee is in the movies she totally nails it– cell phone fail, hippy hat, thong, jorts and all! Now I have to go google the actress’s name because I feel bad about not remembering what it is.

    • The Old One

      Sarah Clarke.

  • TeamJacobEdward

    Model/Ideal parent for a girl trying to hide the fact she’s dating/marrying a vampire? Yes

    Model/Ideal parent otherwise? Definitely not.

  • ladyofthemeadow

    Does it bug anyone else that Bella has to take over all the cooking and cleaning at Charlie’s? She’s still a kid, but she’s a girl so “therefore” she takes over these parental responsibilities :-/

    I mean, Charlie could at least try. And he should let Bella be a kid, not a stereotypical mom. Let her have some chores, but not be responsible for the whole she-bang (TWSS).

    • Its no irritable grizzly…

      It seemed to me like Bella insisted on doing these thing because Charlie would have other wise ordered take out and as for the cleaning, i’m sure Charlie didnt have to do much cleaning before Bella came because he was never home and it is just so Bella to feel like she needs to do these thing even though he never actually asks or tells her to he openly says he will just order a pizza if she doesnt want to make dinner.

      • TeamSeth

        That’s how I saw it. Plus when she goes grocery shopping at the beginning of Twilight book, it’s the first time she feels comfortable.
        I didn’t find it offensive or making the stereotype. I mean, some girls like to cook. Not all girls, apparently.

        • TeamJacobEdward

          Nice “Jessica line” tie-in! 🙂

          I know far, far too much about the movies (and books), don’t I?

    • It kind of did bug me, which is weird because I LIKE cooking and, to an extent, cleaning. To be fair, though, it was what Bella was used to, as she did it for her mom and she ASKED to be head chef at the Swan house. I guess she figured unless she wanted to eat only diner food or badly cooked spaghetti, she’d better take over.

      Yeah, though, it did bug sorta. I guess what bugged was that she HAD to and felt guilty if she didn’t make enchiladas or whatever. I guess that’s just part of how SM wrote her character – uber-responsible, more concerned about everyone else, middle-aged and getting older every year. How else would she be so well matched with an old dude like Edward?

    • MichaelSheenisaDILF

      I think it’s interesting how they never show Bella cooking or cleaning in the movies. I think it’s because it would come off weird with the Stew doing it. Nothing against her, but Stew+Cooking and or Cleaning just doesn’t compute.

      • Except for loquat crumble.

      • Robsessedgirl

        Yeah because I’m pretty sure she doesn’t eat, EVER.

      • ThePlaneFriend

        As I type, I am fully aware that I should not know (or remember) this, but apparently, K-Stew is a good cook. There was a whole interview series about it leading up to ?New Moon? and the other actors were all saying how good the food she made them was.

        That said, I agree–I can envision her cooking. It’s a weird mental image and was probably left out of the movies for a good reason.

        • kitkat

          I did see an interview with her where she said that the cooking was something she wished they had put in the movies. I think the reasoning was something about maturity and showing her close relationship with Charlie.

  • ILoveBoysWhoSparkle

    I think Charlie’s parenting impoves throughout the books. In twilight, he was letting Bella do whatever she wanted, and then he didn’t stop her from leaving in the middle of the night to Phoenix. in New Moon he was there for her through her depression, and even grounded her for leaving for 3 days without telling him. In Eclipse, he tried to protect her from Edward – because he had already hurt her once before and he didn’t want him hurting her again (And lets face it, all of us parent will do that for our kids). And in Breaking Dawn, he was the only one calling and calling to check on Bella when she had came back with the “disease” from Rio, and he was the only one that came to see her afterwards….and where was Renee at this point?? – Probably in one of Phill’s games, my guess.

  • Heidi’sMom

    It took me a while to realize my teen years were much like Bella’s (err, minus mythical creatures). My mom left my dad and me and popped in and out of my life for a few years. I’m an only child and my dad was a quiet guy, so all of a sudden he’s a single dad with a teenage daughter. Every conversation was totes awkward. He tried to give me freedom (too much at times) and I was a tweed serious girl and honor roll student on the surface, but just another Catholic school girl looking for bad boys underneath. And my dad’s name is Charlie. I liked how SM carved out those scenes between Bella and her dad. Brought back memories that are now 20+ years old.

    I do question Renee’s choices with Bella, but as a reader, I assumed Renee trusted serious and mature Bella. I worried that Renee’s new life kept her too busy and happy to even miss Bella.

    Of course, I shouldn’t question Renee’s parenting since my daughter, 5, has declared herself “Team Edward.” I may not be the best role model myself!

  • BayWolf

    Wauw – nice first letter Theplanefriend! And nice that you and UC got “reconnected” 🙂

    I really won’t comment on Renee and her parenting-flaws – or Charlies.. Cause the books are from Ballas POV – and the way I remember my own parents actions when I was in my teens – is not the way they really acted..

    And I’m having a really off day, starting with a flat tire, so I’m just really down and can’t say anything constructively..

    Went here because thats what I do when I’m sad and it feels like everything is working against me – and I’m feeling better now! Thank You All!!

  • Can’t believe I like this shit

    It’s so hard to try to defend Renee…but here goes…

    The book is from Bella’s POV only. I am guessing (hoping) that Charlie and Renee speak frequently about their daughter and we’re just not privy to those conversations. During New Moon, I imagine (hope) they spoke daily and were in constant communicaton about Bella’s progress, or lack thereof. Perhaps when Charlie suggested Bella move to Jacksonsville it was a joint recommedation by two loving, involved, concerned parents working together.

    I tried. Sorry Renee.

    Can’t believe

  • ashley

    I seriously just stood up, pointed at my computer screen, and started happy-dancing at the mention of UC going to school in Indiana.

    …. No one cool ever comes here.

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