Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The very best decision

The very best decision I made all year was to choose Laurie Colwin's A Big Storm Knocked It Over as the first book to read after Harriet was born. Harriet herself and her birth having been that big storm that knocked it (me) over, and did it ever. Like everybody else, I had no clue how hard those days (and endless nights) would be, but somehow I knew that Colwin's lightness and humour would be a kind of balm. That this would be the kind of novel I'd actually get through at a time like that. And what a comfort it would be to read what Colwin wrote about motherhood, and its early days, attesting to the awfulness of it, validating my experience, but with a touch that assured me that things would get better. Underlining the joy that was there, and please, may I quote the passage again that said it all?

"Motherhood is a storm, a seizure: It is like weather. Nights of high wind followed by calm mornings of dense fog or brilliant sunshine that gives way to tropical rain, or blinding snow. Jane Louise and Edie found themselves swept away, cast ashore, washed overboard. It was hard to keep anything straight. The days seemed to congeal like rubber cement, although moments stood out in clearest, starkest brilliance. You might string those together on the charm bracelet of your memory if you could keep your eyes open long enough to remember anything."

Truly, truly, books can save our lives, and make our lives. All the very best for a joyous 2010.