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a passionate repentance

My mother always wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid I came…

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may God stand
My mother always wanted to be a writer.

When I was a kid I came across a couple of bundles of typewritten stuff she'd written. Stories for the most part, but they weren't bad. Stories weren't what my mother was best at though.

My mother wrote the most amazing letters.

They went out to all our family on both sides, all the aunts and uncles and cousins I could never remember the names of, but she knew them all and kept track of them, who married who, and who had a baby. They were a kind of journal of the last couple of months. I could find mentions of my surgeries, stuff about Melinda's riding, or her tap or her ballet, Trish's learning to ride a tricycle or riding the dog like a horse, complete with bridle made of taped together strips of fabric and a saddle made of a pillow and a strap. The dog put up with it all, let Trish *and* Melinda ride him, his stubby little tail wagging. He even let them lead him over 'horse jumps' they constructed, stepping over them gravely and sometimes stopping in the middle, just because he liked the way they fussed. One pulling on his big old boxer head, and the other pushing on his butt end, with his stumpy tail still wig-wagging away.

There was one that talked about my being in hospital (No uncommon experience there) and how I wanted this to be the last surgery because I was tired of braces and I wanted to wear *jeans*. And how Doctor Matthews (May God be pleased with him!) sympathized. I didn't remember that until that moment, but holding those typewritten pages it all came back.

She wrote very little about herself. That's just how my mother is, she wrote about us and she wrote about my dad and sometimes she wrote about the things that were happening on the news, but she rarely said anything about herself. That had to frustrate my grandparents, who probably wanted to know how she was doing. She did mention this or that, her bout with Valley Fever, a dust-bourne respiratory disease, and her bouts with the flu, especially during Christmas. She didn't talk a lot about how it was to raise three kids mostly by herself because that wasn't what letter writing was for. You were cheerful in letters, you didn't bother other people with your problems. By and large you accentuated the positive.

I wish sometimes that my mother would go back and write now. That she'd go ahead and write to Sam about what it was like growing up for her. There are things that Sam's never going to know, otherwise. Things that we'll all forget. It's all part of that pre-9/11 world that won't ever come again.

Maybe it's complete and total ethnocentrism to think that somehow 9/11 changed the world when in fact it happened only in America, acts of terrorism have indeed happened here before, and terrorism is a terrible fact of life all over the world. Still, to me that's how it *feels*..how it might feel to someone in Madrid or someone in Ireland or France, or Croatia, or ..I don't know..Japan? That there is an indefineable difference to the world now. It's smaller and more fragile, and the colors are just a trifle muted, the songs have a note of sadness that won't go away. Everything is saying "Love us, love us, because we're not going to last. Everything goes away. Everything changes."

I don't think that life before then was less complicated. I don't think that it was easy. That's nostalgia and nostalgia is a way of improving on memory via fiction. I just think that there was an innocence that *I* had before then, that's gone now. And innocence is a quality you don't know how to appreciate until it's gone.
  • My mom wants to be an astronaut.

    Even knowing she'll never get into space, she's doing everything she can now to fulfill that dream. She's taking her weightlessness training class some time in the next month. I'm so proud of her!
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