E. M. Forster wrote, in Where Angel’s Fear to Tread, that unconditional love ran from parent to child but could not reverse the course, from child to parent. A child loved but not unconditionally. The geology professor from Texas who read this passage said she didn’t know if she agreed with him, but it had set her thinking. She had sons. She wondered if she loved them more than they loved her . . .
Later, we heard a passage from Nicole Krauss’ Great House, in which a father says he ceased to be the center of the universe with the birth of his second son. Being a parent removed the veil of self-importance for good. He wasn’t a model parent, by any means. The birth of his first son triggered no such understanding. Parents fail to show up for duty. Many resent what’s asked of them.
Krauss spoke to Forster. We rode the waves. Makes me want to roll up my sleeves and get bookish. Makes me love the Rouault lithograph that hangs in my stairway more than ever. Its title is “Have Mercy.”
Many thanks to Lisa Jones for collecting us all around her festive table last night.
And thanks to Dreamstime for the book/wave photo.