Paradise, Piece by Piece
Read more about Molly’s memoir and thoughts about not having children.
from Paradise, Piece by Piece:
How do you grow up if you don’t have children? How do you remake the original love—mother love—into a mature love? Becoming a parent provokes this conversion, but the transformation into adulthood without the bearing of children means metamorphosis. The change is not instant and permanent like parenthood. It is a surfacing into adulthood and a diving down into childhood, and a poking into sharp air again, then a plunge into watery warmth, gradually converting your gills to lungs. After a time, you breathe in air exclusively, just as all adults do.”
“If I could have told that girl, who waited to hear her father’s car crawl up the driveway, that things would never be as bad as they were at that moment, I think she would not have believed me. I imagine whispering into her ear, a skinny little shrimp with lank hair wearing a soiled blouse, her face at once both horrified and grim, that her life will be an adventure and that she will become a poet and live in two countries with a boy she would meet very soon. I see her turn her head a little bit on her neck, straightening her slump just a bit, and watch a slow, noncommittal sort of astonishment begin in her spine, delight moving up her vertebrae till it hits the top of her head and moves her shoulders back. I tell her¾she is fourteen years old—that if she holds on for thirty years she’s going to love her life. This girl does not say, “Thirty years! How will I hold on?” She does not complain or hope; instead, she walks. She walks across the empty plain, requiring that emptiness completely. Paradoxically, for her it will become full of creativity.”