(Pictures taken at the Queen Anne Farmer's Market today.)
I had a friend in college who used to say that she wasn't going to have children until she was sure she would be able to love them unconditionally. Love them as they were, whether they were fairly similar to her in terms of things like disposition and beliefs, or if they turned out to be quite different - maybe republican, or gay, or disabled - any of the things she was not. At that time in my life, in my late teens/early twenties, I was a bit puzzled by her train of thought and her regular mention of this. Who thinks about that kind of thing a decade or so before it's likely to happen? Looking back, I understand that her own severely dysfunctional upbringing was probably at the root of her concern.
I'm currently reading Father of the Rain. Last night I read this passage:
'It's been years since I triggered my father's temper. I learned my way around it long ago. I do not bring up politics, history, literature, lawyers - especially Jewish lawyers - or any other subject that can be linked, however loosely, to my mother. I do not tease, and I receive teasing with a smile; I keep my thoughts and opinions to a bare minimum. I ask questions. I make myself useful. I do not discuss my interests, my relationships, or my goals. He and Catherine find me dull company, and tease me for that as well, but it is a small price to pay for peace.' (Father of the Rain by Lily King, p. 154.)
All day I've been haunted by this thread in the book. I've spent more time in my life than I would like to be able to say I have, living under a much paler shadow of various kinds of intolerances. This book has made me remember what it was like to live, kind of, like that. I am compelled, as ever, to be conscious of living with an open heart and an open mind, to the best of my ability. May we all be.