For a mother the project of raising a boy is the most fulfilling project she can hope for. She can watch him, as a child, play the games she was not allowed to play; she can invest in him her ideas, aspirations, ambitions, and values -- or whatever she has left of them; she can watch her son, who came from her flesh and whose life was sustained by her work and devotion, embody her in the world. So while the project of raising a boy is fraught with ambivalence and leads inevitably to bitterness, it is the only project that allows a woman to be -- to be through her son, to live through her son.
As a precocious teen I dreamed of being Graham Greene. Well, as it turned out, I never wrote a great novel, sadly, and I never converted to Catholicism, happily, but I did do one thing he did. That is, in middle age I moved to a seaside town and got into a right barney with the local powers-that-be.
I have had my mother's wing of my genetic ancestry analyzed by the tracing service and there it all is: the arrow moving northward from the African savannah, skirting the Mediterranean by way of the Levant, and passing through Eastern and Central Europe before crossing to the British Isles. And all of this knowable by an analysis of the cells on the inside of my mouth.I almost prefer the more rambling and indirect and journalistic investigation, which seems somehow less deterministic.
It's ironic, really. Guys should be excited that I got Kristen Bell. If Brad Pitt gets Kristen Bell, it's like, 'Well, of course he did.' With me, it should be, 'Oh good, a normal-looking guy got her. Maybe I'll get me a Kristen Bell.' But guys hate my guts for always dating women I have no right to be with.