Perpetual youth

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I always imagined that I would have three children; I had, instead, one entirely remarkable, irreplaceable, love-magic, life-giving boy.  And yet my world is still very much about children in the plural—about the kids I've been hanging, traveling, or blogging with over the course of the last 20 years.

Those kids, like all kids, grow up.  So that yesterday I heard from Moira, my beloved first student at Penn (and the inspiration for the book, Zenobia), who is now herself a teacher at the University of San Francisco, and, I imagine, a very good one.  I heard from one of my favorite young bloggers, so alive with her studies, so complete in her assessment of the world, and generous.  I stopped by the blogs of young poet-philosopher-photographer friends, listened to my son read from his screenplay-in-progress, and took note of new books for my niece Claire, who speaks from the palace of her imagination (Aunt Beth, she says, what would you do if you saw ... ).  When I'm in danger of being thwarted or unnaturally bent by corporate pressures, I step back into the classroom and teach, and when I think back on this summer's family vacation at the Cayman Islands, I think most of all of the early mornings, when my nephew and I sat side by side on long deck chairs, reading from our respective books.

Disappointments hover; they threaten to unmake us.  Curatively, always, there are kids.


Lilian Nattel said...

I was thinking of you the other day, Beth. I was at Indigo Books and in the teen section of the book store, which was next to the magazine rack where my kids were browsing. I watched as teens were picking up not just one book, but bunches of books, reading, talking to each other about the books they had loved.

kate hopper said...

This is breathtaking, Beth. I'm always drawn to your blog when I need to be replenished. You never fail to do that with your lovely words. Thank you. Happy New Year!

Kelly H-Y said...

So beautifully put.
I always, for whatever reasons, imagined three children as well ... I have two, but now know that is most definitely the way it is supposed to be!

Liviania said...

When I was young, I talked about having a bunch of kids. For several years I've been dealing with the fact that I don't want to have kids and trying to explain that to my family. But I do love children and spending time with them. One of my baby cousins just turned nine - I find it inconceivable that she's about to hit double digits. The other baby cousin has started reading books to me. It's rewarding to see someone you spent their entire life with grow and develop. (It makes me regret that my niece and nephew live so far away.) As I look for jobs, I'm kind of comforted that their parents might be relocating to the same area as me. I can't imagine not having them close and baby-sitting periodically.

Serena said...

I never wanted to have kids, and now here I am about to have my first in March! I still can't get over it. I just hope I'm not a terrible mother.

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