Sunday, January 15, 2017
The Rest of Us
Six and a half years ago, I somehow found the book The Rest of Us by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Jacquelyn writes fiction of which I am not yet a fan, yet I connected deeply with her book of autobiographical essays. When I opened this book, my husband had just learned of a large tumor in his chest, a few months before our second child was born. Jacquelyn came to mothering through adopting and birthing, supported her husband as he died of cancer, and then adopted more children. Within her writing, I see her as a strong, protective, determined, down-to-earth Midwestern mother who acknowledges her imperfections (and ours) with both lightness and gravity that accompany parenting. She loves her children and does what she can to guide and protect them, as we all do. She talks of how some women have it all together, arrive on time for their appointments, have perfectly mannered and tended children, and then there are The Rest of Us. I loved this book many years ago. I remembered the stories as if they were my own. Now I get to connect with the stories in a while new way, as my own young husband has died of cancer and left me a widow. I am so thankful for literature that connects me to myself, to help me feel supported and validated and light when much in my life feels otherwise. I am grateful to know my children and I will get through this dense time with grace and love. I am grateful for this love of books and this love of life.