Saturday, February 11, 2012
Sore Throats, Shy Eleanor, and Snow
'Have been over the flu less than two weeks and am sick again. A child in my care at work spent yesterday coughing into my neck and shoulder, and I could see my own next bout of sickness coming as surely as my mom used to call me "Typhoid Mary." While Mike has caught up on laundry and whatever else, I've spent most of today and tonight in bed with a book under piles of blankets and quilts beside the space heater.
I've been reading Joseph Lash's Eleanor and Franklin and grrr-ing over Eleanor Roosevelt's mother's calling her "Granny" as a child due to her plain face and somber manner. Mike has heard my intermittent rants today about how photos of a young Eleanor Roosevelt show a pretty little girl, not at all what I'd consider plain, but regardless, what a rotten thing to make a child believe about herself. And if I had been Eleanor's mom--Eleanor would not have become the Eleanor she became, so it's all good in the end, I KNOW, but--I'd have been kind to her and let her be quiet and thoughtful, if that's what she was, and I'd have helped to build her up and make her feel more secure and not dragged her out in front of company only to refer to her mockingly as "Granny" and reinforce her shyness and thus make her feel even more awkward and ill-at-ease around others. And some people--too many people--have children because they wish to raise new/tiny versions of themselves as kids, and when their children surprise them by being quite different than they are and very much their own people--e.g., an earnest little Eleanor being raised by her outgoing socialite mother--they don't handle it well. Oh, Mike's gotten an earful today. He is probably hoping loss of voice will soon follow my sore throat. But look at her!
"Granny," my foot. Grrrrr. Would you like to sit with me awhile, Eleanor? I don't want to be out there with those women as they chatter about dresses and dinners and debutante balls either. We'll read quietly and play with my cat. Look, he likes you! You're so good with him! How wise you are to care about living things so deeply and to listen to them so closely! And you watch the world with such gorgeous expressive eyes! You know, your mama is good in all kinds of ways, I'm sure, but she doesn't know everything. You, sweet girl, are destined for wonderful things.
The world outside my book is beautiful today. The city is coated with maybe three inches of snow, just enough to pretty it up.
Back to bed.