Monday, August 25, 2008

Today my older son begins his first real day of high school, and meanwhile I have just read this passage from George Eliot's Felix Holt, the Radical. Writers are always strewing my path with mysterious clues and messages. I might not even be on the lookout for them, but there they are, waiting for me to stumble over them and fall down and get a big bruise.

from Chapter 8 of Felix Holt, the Radical (1866)
George Eliot

It is a fact perhaps kept a little too much in the background, that mothers have a self larger than their maternity, and that when their sons have become taller than themselves, and are gone from them to college or into the world, there are wide spaces of their time which are not filled with praying for their boys, reading old letters, and envying yet blessing those who are attending to their shirt buttons.

Today, almost 150 years later, doesn't making such a statement still seem very brave, and very risky--as if a mother might bring misfortune to herself and her sons if she were actually to admit that she doesn't think about her children every single moment they're away from her?

But then, what is the line between thinking of myself and thinking of the ones I love? Maybe that's why I can't stop writing about boys.

Dinner: I finally made sourdough bread that rose without any extra boost from packaged yeast. This is an important kitchen event because I have to tell you: there is hardly anything more dispiriting than spending an entire day nursing a batch of bread dough and then having to feed it to the chickens (not to mention having to swallow my pride and be seen in public purchasing Shur-Fine English muffins as emergency rations for the Horde).

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