Friday, February 18, 2005

A great essay about motherhood

by Lionel Shriver at the Guardian. Here's a taste:

How we came to conceive of children as passive objects upon which adults act is beyond me. From my earliest years, I remember being a conscious agent. I knew when I was not supposed to do something, and sometimes I did it anyway.

A random example? When I was 10, my father had given my mother a Russell Stovers assortment box for her birthday, and after a Sunday lunch my mother offered each of us kids one chocolate. But we weren't allowed to pick the cream-filled sort (the round ones), which were her favourites, only a caramel (the squares). But I preferred the cream-filled kind, too. I flew into a tantrum. I screamed. I wailed. I flopped about the floor.

I must read We Need to Talk About Kevin as soon as possible!

(For the record, I will note that I had the other kind of mother--the kind who literally will give you the shirt off her back if you casually tell her it looks nice ["No, really, wouldn't you like it? Here!"]. So I am not-so-secretly horrified by the mother's behavior in this case! And daunted, too, by the model of the completely self-sacrificing mother.)

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