Monday, August 22, 2011

Between Two Worlds

Once in awhile, a book socks me in the stomach.  This was one of them.  It's the memoir of a woman who is the daughter of Saddam Hussein's former pilot.  Her parents were intimately close friends of the dictator, and it's a facinating look into his private life and rise to power.  It will shock you.  It will make you cringe.

How this woman escaped Iraq and not came to live a "normal" life, but to thrive and do such wonderful work astounds and inspires me.

This story is why I hate war.  This is the woman I've always thought of when we decidedly hate all Muslims, or carelessly drop missles in other countries.  The collateral damage of war is real and prevalent today. 

Additionally, this book reminds us that there are still oppressed women everywhere.  We must spend some of our resources to help them. 

I finished it late last night and went to bed sad.  Sad that we continue to hurt people so deeply.  That one man can rise to power and destroy a nation.  Both the physical attributes and the people in it.  That we, as human beings, have that much potential to destroy.  I was feeling really depressed about the state of our world and overwhelmed with the responsibility of changing it.  Because I must.  And we must. 

It's a powerful book. I urge you to read it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Turning pages...

I have been terribly remiss in updating you on my reading lists, but honestly...very little has blown my literary socks off for this summer (trust me -- I'm more disappointed than you are).  I commented on a couple, which you should run out and pick up or reserve at the library.  The ones without comments, you can probably just breeze over.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot

Facinating.  Absolutely brilliant. I had no idea anything like this situation existed.  It will make you think!

Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand

You know, my sister couldn't put this book down, but I quit 100 pages into it. 

The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly

The Pilot's Wife, Anita Shreve

Dog On It, Spencer Quinn

Super fun. A man runs a detective agency and this book is written from his dog's perspective.  Brilliant, and hilarious.  A great summer read.  (Way better than The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein).

Sister Mine, Tawni O'Dell

House Rules, Rachel Sontag

This was a good book.  A little sad, but a good memoir.

Swallows of Kabul, Yasmina Khadra

Between Two Worlds, Zainab Salbi

You should read this book.  The author is the daughter of Saddam Hussein's former pilot.  The intimate social relationship with the dictator is facinating. Probably the best book I read this summer.

The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff

I'd recommend this book.  It's hard to get into, but about 100 pages in, I was hooked.  Another FLDS book...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

White Picket Fence

I do not have a daughter.

I am the second oldest of eleven kids.  Of the top five, four are girls.  So the bottom half of my family is very boy-heavy. I helped raise those brothers.  I held them, and played with them, and rocked them. So raising boys now is familiar, and comfortable, and joyful.

I am not one of those women who has always pined for a little girl.  The thought of raising a girl, in fact, has made me nervous.  I have enough estrogen for an this household.  I love little girls, and I have a few very wonderful ones in my life.  I was thrilled when my ultrasound showed boy parts.  Both times.  Plus I adore my stepson, as you well know.

But I want a daughter for life.

When I see moms getting pedicures with their teenagers, my heart hurts.  When I think of not having a daughter to watch go through her married...having children of her own, well...that kills me a little.

I watched The Help last weekend (which has a thousand lessons in it...I should probably dedicate an entire blog post to it, in fact.).  In it, there is a scene with a younger-self of the main character and her maid.  It's an intensely maternal moment and it struck me in a place I can't describe to you except to tell you that it made me weep on my husband's shoulder upon returning home from the movie. 

I love my family.  I love it so much that I'm planning to put up a white picket fence next spring.  True story.  My boys are awesome and healthy and someday they'll marry well and I'll have daughters-in-law, and granddaughters if I'm lucky. And I have little girls in my life to bond with, and love.  And I'm grateful.

But I'll mourn not having one of my very own for just a little while before I move on. (Because it's okay for us to grieve for things we don't have, so long as we're thankful for the gifts that we do have.)

It's my mom's fault, really.  If you know my mom, you'll know that she's kind to everyone.  She's gentle. She's an amazing listener.  I told my mom everything growing up.  I spent countless hours with her in the kitchen (not helping...just watching her work and visiting (she was a far superior mother than I was a daughter)).  I'd be sad, and I'd sit in the living room.  She'd give me some time, and then she'd come in and touch my hair, giving me permission to cry.  She loves me so deeply.  I think she's still mad at the first guy who broke my heart.  So you don't need a psychology degree to see how her beauty as a mother inspired me to want to provide that for another human being.

I'll be 35 on my next birthday.  It would be more information than you'd like (and inappropriate on a public blog!) if I shared with you why I'm pretty sure that the childbirth chapter of my life is closed.  And I trust that God knows best.  And I trust that my boys will always love me, and share with me and want to be with me.  And who knows...maybe I can even drag one of them for a pedicure someday.

Thank you to my God and my dear husband for understanding and kindness and patience, and Kleenex.  And for my white-picket-fence life.