Anne Notations

Friday, July 06, 2007

My three stones

This afternoon I've been sitting on our (Providence) back deck under the green market umbrella, enjoying the soft breeze, some lukewarm tea, and a book that just came from eBay. I would feel lazy and guilty but for the fact that since Tuesday night - after a week's "vacation" from work spent moving things to Warwick and putting them away - my body has been pummeled by a fiendish rotovirus. So I need these hours of recovery in the shade, and I am thankful to feel well enough to read again.

What I'm reading is After This, by Alice McDermott (2006). She is a wonderful writer, and if you haven't yet read her Child of My Heart, perhaps the perfect summer novel, please do so now.

Back to After This, which is, above all, about family. This passage speaks strongly to my own feelings about parenthood - the weird simultaneous joy and burden of it all:

"(John's) love for his children bore down on his heart with the weight of three heavy stones. There were all his unnamed fears for them, and hopes for them. There was all he was powerless to change, including who they were."

My own three heavy stones - now ages 21, 16, and almost 15 - hold more power over me than I ever could have imagined. Scarcely a waking hour goes by that I don't think with concern about one or all of them. Yet they shine in my life like gold.

What are you reading this summer?


  • What a timely posting for me, Anne. I've been struggling for a few weeks with a son's relapse into depression, and my heart is braced for some kind of release. The author's description is right on re: parenthood.

    At officemates' recommendation, I read "Nineteen Minutes," probably not the greatest read when a parent is dealing with a depressed son.

    Currently reading: "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America," by Erik Larson. Fascinating sociological / historical read about Chicago and the World's Fair.

    By Blogger tjs, at Fri Jul 06, 04:50:00 PM EDT  

  • I read The Tender Bar (wonderful; gritty, crude, and beautiful). That one's a few years old now. I read On Chesil Beach. It was my first McCuen book. It all takes place in one night (but there are flashbacks and background), the honeymoon night of a young couple in the early '60s. Last summer I read, but just revisited I'm Proud Of You. Wow. On a biblical/non fiction plane I'm working on The Particulars of Rapture, a literary study of Exodus.

    As a son who is not yet a father I found your words thought provoking. My parents should live and be well.

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at Mon Jul 09, 01:58:00 PM EDT  

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