Sunday, June 17, 2012

ask away

never stop asking questions.

especially the ones you're afraid to let slip out of your mouth and into the laps of the people who brought you into this world, who have seen you since day one, who have taught you right from wrong and how to look at every angle of every situation.

ask them what they think of their of their children now; did they think you would end up like this? did they think you would be so independent and stubborn, or laid back and good-natured? do they see what they hoped for you?

and when these people, who you are the sum of, squint their eyes into the distance behind you, past the restaurant's large window, past the parking lot, back to when you all very young and happy, when they raise an eyebrow and say, "well, you're all definitely different people," appreciate the honesty and diplomacy of that statement. don't think about how sad they may be that you do not all get along. that you all have vastly different ideas about how to live your lives. that the way you treat each other is not how they had hoped. that you're not as close as you were as children.

instead, think of how it was always going to be this way. that they raised you to give each other miles of space and privacy. they wanted independent children who would grow to be decent people, but not sheep or cattle running with the rest of the flock. remember that you all had locks on your doors and were taught to always knock and wait for a response to enter, and if they said you weren't allowed, so be it. closed doors, closed lives. think about how you all still have these traits in common and laugh.

and these two people who made you, they do see it too, but there's nothing to be done. but they do see how you treat the people you've chosen as friends and partners. they see how loving and kind and generous and considerate, thoughtful and patient you are with them. how you respect their ideas and opinions, even if they aren't your own. they see that they have raised people who are good to others, even if they are not good to each other.


  1. This is just beautiful Hillary. When you start word-galloping with the "and when these people, who you are the sum of, squint their eyes into the distance behind you, out of the restaurant's large window..." you begin to hit your stride. I'm glad to see you're augmenting your famous minimalism with flights of near-poetry. It makes reading you less about collecting a series of witty aphorisms & more about immersion, which is where it's at where real writing is concerned. Fine job, Hillary.

  2. Also, the writing in your last e-mail to me was heartbreaking (in a very good way). You're starting to reveal more of yourself & that's a VERY good sign!