The Real in Fiction: Emily Rapp’s “Notes of a Dragon Mom”

Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.

-Emily Rapp, “Notes of a Dragon Mom”

This article made me think of Leah Hager Cohen’s The Grief of Others, the way knowing your child will die can change you, change everything. The way saying that and knowing that seems like the most obvious, silly observation, and yet you can’t stop looking away, can’t stop observing the ruins. While this is different in its truth, its realness, it is the gut from which Cohen’s story — and stories like it — come. And seeing a woman of letters write about the experience in a way that can communicate and empathize with others in situations similar and startlingly different is why I write. It’s why I read. It’s like those zombie films (I’ve been watching The Walking Dead, forgive me), where all they really know to do is search for anyone — everyone — who is, like them, still alive despite it all.

This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.

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