Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Good Kick in the Pants

There's a good reason never to complain, and it's called destiny. I am ashamed to find myself whining about parenting 3 kids while being married to an artist (think gigantic, hairy-chested Julian Schnabel), while my darling, estimable, enlightened amie in Los Angeles is parenting 3 kids while her soulmate is, after a long hard fight, succumbing to brain cancer. Donna, you are a Queen of light and compassion, and I want to relay a few of the hints you gave in your blog about parenting when one is forced by circumstances to see life as it really is, to take life day by day, and to give time and attention to what matters most.

1. Christmas Presents - Donna said she was casting around for what to give her children last Christmas, but really saw (maybe for the first time) that they did not need more toys. Toys were bursting out of the closets and the bookshelves; pieces were cast variously to the four corners of the house. Not only was there no more room for toys, but how much sustenance can plastic really offer when you are clinging to the hope of your father's life? Donna noticed that what they really did need was a new set of cannisters for the kitchen counter, to hold flour, sugar, coffee, and she bought some and wrapped them up for the whole family, noting that the children thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent making and eating goodies from the contents of those cannisters. Nourishment. Mothers and fathers, take note of what you and your children need.

2. What to tell the children? - Donna says they talk about how Daddy is getting closer to the spirit world (a concept the children are very familiar with from Waldorf kindergarten), but how he doesn't want to leave them; how nobody knows where cancer comes from, not even the doctors, but how it isn't catching like a cold.

Another, last tenderness she performed for her darling husband, after he could no longer talk: she talked to him about all the great things he had managed to accomplish in his life, to give him some comfort that way, you know.

A moment of peace for Eric Zucker, a man who lived what he believed - and for Donna, the woman who loves him.

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