Crying is unsettling. Especially if you are watching one of your parents do it.
My son hates it when I cry and has said that when I would cry all the time immediately after his father/my husband’s death, he would feel this mix of emotions that he didn’t want to feel and so he would walk away. I understand it and think his reaction was perfectly normal. He was thirteen years old and dealing with something that adults find hard to handle. He was just trying to survive.
Now, at twenty two years old, my son explains his reaction this way: “When children see their parents cry, it’s like a wall being broken. It messes everything up. I wanted you to be my Mom but when I saw you cry, it’s like you weren’t my Mom anymore. You were a person and I didn’t want that. I wanted my Mom.”
It makes sense to me and I love him all the more for his insight; as painful as it was, and sometimes still is, for both of us.
That is why Jacob Bernstein’s long and loving story about his mother, Nora Ephron, is so powerful and compassionate.
It’s a universal story of how children feel about their parents as children, and as adults, and especially sons and their feelings about their mothers.
But having an accomplished, high-profile, multi-talented mother such as Nora Ephron is a unique story. And Jacob Bernstein writes it beautifully. I knew it was a long story so I only intended to read the first page and then come back to it later, but then I couldn’t stop reading it until I reached the end.
His mother is proud. He took good notes.
Please click on this link to read Jacob Bernstein’s story as it appeared in the New York Times magazine this past weekend: