Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have been a long-time Nora Ephron devotee, but since her recent passing, I am astounded by her now legendary body of work: essayist, novelist, screenwriter, director, and playwright.  The theme of her work is consistent: simplistic, realistic, romantic - and very often, hilarious.

I was first smitten with her films When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and have continued to try and read, see and listen to all things Nora.  It's easy to do: she wrote and spoke about everything from recipes, body image, reading, women, divorce, and hair.

In  "Parenting in Three Stages", an essay from the collection I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, she muses on raising a child from newborn to empty nest. She describes a time when, "Back in the days when there were merely parents, as opposed to people-who-were-engaged-in-parenting... Here's what a parent is: a parent is a person who has children.  Here's what's involved in being a parent: you love your children, you hang out with them from time to time, you throw balls, you read stories, you make sure they know which utensil is the fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework. "

She goes on to describe a shift,  "...suddenly one day there was this thing called parenting.  Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce.  Parenting was solemn.  Parenting was a participle, like 'going' and 'doing' and 'crusading' and worrying'. It was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting... Parenting was not simply about raising a child; it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving."

And finally, after the harrowing tales from adolescence and beyond she ends the essay with Stage Three: The Child Is Gone, stating, "...every so often, your child will come to visit.  They are, amazingly, completely charming people.  You can't believe you're lucky enough to know them.  They make you laugh.  They make you proud.  You love them madly.  They survived you.  You survived them."

Food for thought.  Thank you, thank you Nora.


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