Thursday, November 6, 2014

Give them the gift of love

Almost 40 years ago, when I was a librarian, an actress named Lilli Palmer published an autobiography entitled "Change Lobsters and Dance."  Though I'm not generally into autobiographies, I was intrigued by the title, so I picked up the book when it crossed my desk and read it.

Somewhere in the early chapters she made a statement that intrigued me: she said that the greatest gift her parents had given her and her sisters was to make it clear they loved each other more than they loved their children.

For some reason that thought stuck with me, and so, 15 years later, when I had children of my own, I told my husband about the book and explained to him that that was how I planned to raise our girls: with the understanding that, however much I loved them both, they'd always know I loved him more.

Last night my husband, who's been going through the piles of genealogical data his father left behind, discovered that Lilli Palmer was his grandfather's cousin, the daughter of his great-grandfather's brother.  He didn't recognize her name, but I did -- and I immediately connected it with the decisions I made all those years ago.

For some reason that seems pretty magical to me: that a random statement that I discovered by accident, that played such a major role in how I raised our kids, was made by someone who was part of our family long before I had any connection to that family.

In the words of the immortal Alice in Wonderland -- "curiouser and curiouser"...

I once asked a bird, "How is it that you fly
in this gravity of darkness?"
And she replied, "Love lifts me." 
-- Hafiz
May love lift you as you go about your daily rounds today.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Wonderful story, Diane.

Love the Hafiz.