Monday, September 7, 2009

A Book's Impact

"Run" by Ann Patchett is a treat to read. About the mixing and matching of race and class in Boston. It so reminded me of my family, not in the details of the book, but in the essence.

My Stepfather introduced a view to family in a new way to me. Family is blood, but it can be more. What does blood have to do with love? Not much. Actions say loudly what love really is, day by day, filling in details, so that at the end of his life I had no doubts that my Stepfather loved me and my siblings deeply (whole, stepped, and adopted), and in a way that meant there is always room for one more. Love has no boundaries. It framed the life I was to choose, two sons I birthed (brown skins), a daughter of the heart, white, looks more like me than my birth sons, and a stepdaughter, Mayan ancestry who was adopted into my present husbands life and lucky me, I received her into mine. Like my Pop I have four children who came to me in different ways, and are so different from one another, and yet, each have a deep, lasting, fulfilling, place in my mother's heart.

There are other children who I hold dear, but for one reason or another I wasn't able to keep them close to me. Sam, Simone, and Andrea, children of the heart, who I helped raise in their young lives, fell deeply in love with, and had to let them go. Luckily I have contact with the adults they have turned into, so even though I doubt they realize how truly loved they are by me, they allow me in enough to keep contact so I enjoy what fine adults they have turned into. Pop also gave me this gift, since he too worked with children in a boarding type school, and I watched the relationships he developed. Some of his charges returned to see him all through the years, letting it be known how important he was to them. He always had room at his table for one more, no matter whether we were poor, or during the later years when things leveled out economically. I loved that about him, and hope to carry on the tradition until my time is done.

I wrote to Ann, thanking her for "Run." I wonder if she too came from a mixed and matched family, like mine? She has a white husband and a white dog shown on the websites about her. Not that it matters. Imagination can carry a person to that which they haven't experienced themselves. It as so true to my own experience that it just made me wonder.

Bruce said, "In 10 or 20 years stories of mixed families will seem so boring. Everyone will be mixing or already mixed. It is happening faster now." Maybe. By 2050 they say whites will be a minority in this country. Once again I feel the urge to push publishing "But What About The Children?". How do I get it from my computer to make real the dream of a hardback on the shelf, by Shirley A. Blair Keller? I tried for a while but no open doors. Maybe its time to try again.

I so appreciate Ann's inspiring me to think about my children in such detailed ways this morning. I wrote about them for two hours, trying to describe how deeply they are in my heart, and when it happened. It makes me think of Natalie Goldberg, once again, in gratitude. "Keep the pen moving. That is the only rule." Thus I scratched black ink on white paper, drawing in words the four who I call children. And now three of the four have provided grandchildren, another kind of love, free and flowing. But we will save another morning to delve into that pool.