2002-01-25 14:25:23 (UTC)

Marriage and Children

This is from A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler:

**I knew couples who'd been married almost forever--forty,
fifty, sixty years. Seventy two in one case. They'd be
tending each other's illnesses, filling in each other's
faulty memories, dealing with the money troubles or the
daughter's suicide or the grandson's drug addiction. And I
was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether
they'd married the right person. Finally, you're just with
who you're with. You've signed on with her, put in half a
century with her, grown to know her as well as you know
yourself or even better, and she's become the right person.
Or the only person, might be more to the point. I wish
someone had told me that earlier.**

This struck me as exactly right. John's great-aunt
Marie told me a few days after I married John. Exactly.
Sad news from the the high school. Troy, a boy, a young man
now, who graduated from high school with Owen last year, was
playing around with a gun and did a dumb thing. He put one
bullet in the chamber, spun it, said to his friend "I wonder
what would happen if I did this?", held the gun to his head
and pulled the trigger. He lost. He's dead. The community
is just devastated.

This is every mother's nightmare. A child doing one stupid
thing which costs him his life. As my boys grow up into
men, I feel sometimes as if I'm constantly holding my
breath, waiting for them to get to the other side, to
adulthood and responsibility, alive and well. I've talked
to them about this to the point of nagging. Never get into
a car with an impaired driver. Wear your seat belt.
Don't use drugs. Don't drink. Pay attention! Don't do
stupid things! All it takes is one second, one nano-second,
and in less time than it takes to snap my fingers, you're
dead. There are no second chances. You can't go back and
do it over and make a different choice.