I  Forgot to Add

There was one more thing I liked about The Unprocessed Child. Valerie Fitzenreiter includes an epigram for every chapter, and many of them are quite good. My favorite was from Gabriel García Márquez: “She discovered with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children, but because of the friendship formed while raising them.”

This quote made me think of something I overheard on our recent vacation. We were lucky enough to get to see both Nina and Elizabeth and also Erin and Felicia and their lovely children—for those of you following along at home, Nina is my BFF and our madrina, the maid of honor at our wedding and Robin’s godmother, and Erin is one of Sam’s best friends and stood up as a groomsman at our wedding. And Elizabeth and Felicia are both very dear to us and possessed of charms too numerous to mention. So seeing them was wonderful, and it was pretty cool for Sam and me to watch our old friends getting along like gangbusters.

What I overheard was Elizabeth asking Erin about parenting: “The things that are so annoying about other people’s children, is it different when it’s your child?” His answer was an emphatic yes, it is different, which I found tremendously reassuring as it’s something I’ve wondered myself. The Márquez quote kind of speaks to the same issue, and I like it because it suggests that it’s not just a trick of brain chemistry that makes one’s own bratty children so much more tolerable than a stranger’s brats. It’s the fact that you know them so well; and as Neil Gaiman says, it’s hard not to like someone when you know them really well.

(I should add that Aiden and Kayleigh—I hope I’ve got the spellings right—aren’t brats at all. They’re actually exceptionally charming. Kayleigh immediately made herself a big hit with the baby, and Aiden is a great conversationalist.)

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