I don't know where this first one came from, this tender glimpse into the dynamic of a family. It speaks to the frailty of existence and complexity of relationships
We're eating at the fanciest restaurant anyone can imagine in Winnipeg. We're waiting, a mite ruffled, for our mains when they surprise us with an amuse-bouche puff-pastry with innards cheesy and tart-and we're startled and pleased. The walls are deep blue or brick and beyond the tall windows is the warehouse district, it's sturdy old buildings fashionable now. And the snow. It's late November. Three weeks ago at another dinner the man I love smiled and regaled us - me, his kids - with his birth. He was an accident. Just twenty months between him and his older sister. He doesn't seem to mind his haphazard entry to the world. Now he's sitting at this capacious table with my family and he gives us more of the story. His parents, come after the war, failed to flourish. There were twenty-four hours, he says between his mother and a back-alley abortion when friends brought to the apartment the $300 they'd gathered to take his family through the winter. Money saved him. For that and so many other occurrences, I have him here, close to family. I'm just eighteen months younger than my sister, I tell him, but we were all planned. I feel my mother rustle at my elbow. My older sister regards me. I've heard the stories of her lugging diaper pails. How hard it was. "Well..." my mother says. I have a mouthful, something arcane, delicious. And feel dislodged, suddenly the unexpected guest, no place setting for me. How is it I didn't know, when it makes such sense? It makes sense. I've felt always wanted and unworthy. How is it she didn't tell me, I wail quietly across the tablecloth. And she reminds me how her own mother broadcast her accidental status, how little she was wanted. I want to ask what she felt, carrying me; don't. Not yet. Remember how welcome my own son was, from when he was a twitch in my belly. I know how poorly she was loved, how richly I was and am. And how love surprises us, unexpected.
The second is an article written by J.K. Rowling for the UK Times as Britain prepares for it's upcoming General Election. Her reasons for still not voting Tory and the still-dire status of single-parenthood in that country (although I fear the same situation exists in Canada and the US too) caused by prejudice and not lack of but inadequate government programmes. As Ron would say "Bloody Hell!"