WIHWT: The Bread

Link to Sabrina Orah Mark’s Writing

It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m in an allostatic-load haze, catching myself staring into nothing at an angle. Perusing through the drafts folder, I found some gems. I hesitate to post this one because I’m trying to keep swear words under the blog rug, but this piece by Sabrina Orah Mark from the Paris Review, May 7, 2020, deserves to be read and shared, damn the words. Sometimes we just need to say it. It’s in my “Wish I Had Written That” category for obvious reasons. I am a lover of magic, fairy tales, and any reprieve from reality, and her use of fable woven in with current realities is some word spinning into gold.

I like it here. I feel like I’m in Gertrude Stein territory, where the buttons are so tender they’ve come undone. The whole kingdom is spilling out of itself. There are holes everywhere. To the east, a pile of impossible tasks of my own making. To the west, a mountain of broken crowns I will melt and recast into a machete. “This is so nice,” writes Gertrude Stein, “and sweet and yet there comes the change, there comes the time to press more air. This does not mean the same as disappearance.” It’s day sixty of homeschooling. Eli asks me to remind him how to make an aleph. I take a pencil, and draw it for him very carefully. “It’s like a branch,” I say, “with two little twigs attached.”  “You know what, Mama?” he says. “You’d make a really good teacher.” “Thank you,” I say. And then I show him how to draw a bet.


Since March 13, I am wondering what I can teach my own sons, now that I’m attempting to teach from home. They’re 25 and 22, long past the age of whimsy and requiring my entertainment. I sense mothers of young adults all over the nation are muting their true concerns now. Feeling guilty for hollow promises and all the damn pushing. I don’t know if everything’s going to be okay. I don’t know what “okay” is going to be, or what it should be. I’ve enveloped them in equal parts of love and anxiety. But I’ve also been honest, and shown how to give and receive grace. Let’s hope that’s enough.