Most Sundays, Daughter #2 and I discuss a single column in The New York Times. Not infrequently, our inner snarks emerge as we eviscerate "Modern Love," the 1500-word essays that appear in Sunday Styles. We haven't had the chance to compare notes yet on "
Simon Van Booy and his four-year-old Madeleine are busy making life appear normal after the sudden death of his wife/her mother last year from Marfan syndrome. I don't think it's because my best friend, Linda, died of Marfan's that this piece causes me to pull my laptop into the garden and post in these few moments when it's not raining.
This tender reflection, circling the simple gesture of making breakfast, manages to draw in everything from Sleeping Beauty to the trick of buying store-brand cereal and pouring it into the colorful boxes of crap that children prefer to World War II in one effortless stream.
Witness this from the guy with the funny hat, cane, and mustache, who also takes a bow: "I think it was Charlie Chaplin who said that close up, human life is tragic, but from a distance, it’s funny."
Or how about this capture of a certain aspect of the secret life of children:
We don’t have television, so Hannah Montana entered our lives on a DVD purchased because Madeleine had somehow found out about her through that underground toy-smuggling and gossip network also known as nursery school.
Turns out Mr. Van Booy is a writer of some repute, with books in print and in the pipeline: his new story collection, Love Begins in Winter, is just out, joining The Secret Lives of People in Love (I swear I didn't see the title until after I'd written the line about the secret lives of children); coming soon, Why We Need Love, Why People Fight, and a few more. Prolific to boot.
Do the clickeroo. You'll thank me and we'll both thank Simon and Madeleine. The title of this post, taken from the piece, is self-explanatory.