The Pleasures of Parenting

Standing in line at the DMV this afternoon, I recognized a local poet in the waiting room reading The New York Review of Books. As the line was long, I stood watching the poet and his teenage daughter converse about something in the Review. She wore high heeled red leather boots, laces neatly tied around her ankles.

Still waiting in line while my daughters walked around Montpelier in gently-falling snow, I remembered an article my own father had forwarded me about the name of the Buddha’s son: Rahula, which means fetter.

Like most parents I know, my life is intensely fettered, by some unnecessary things perhaps, but bound also by the everydayness of waiting in line for a license renewal, something on the surface overly simplistic and sometimes downright irritating. Yet when my girls walked across the marble floor of that office building, with snowflakes melting in their eyelashes, laughing at some joke between them they had no need to share to with me, I wouldn’t have traded these fetters for the moon.

It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we’re talking about when we talk about love.

– Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”


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