I did not read Eat Pray Love, though I am reading Wild, which I’m afraid will be the 2012 replacement now that it is Oprah-approved. I thought I'd give it a try because I like The Rumpus even if I’m not as fanatical about Dear Sugar, author Cheryl Strayed’s previously pseudonym-using advice column (there’s no denying her insight and writing skills, but I am not a warm, nurturing, enlightened, in touch with your emotions through years of therapy type—I thought that would come with age, but so far no dice) as many are.
Before going to bed I read this passage about her mother, a diy, back to the land homesteader in Minnesota:
We were her kids, her comrades, the end of her and the beginning. We took turn riding shotgun with her in the car. "Do I love you this much?" she'd ask us, holding her hands six inches apart. "No," we'd say, with sly smiles. "Do I love you this much," she'd ask again, and on and on and on, each time moving her hands farther apart." But she would never get there, no matter how wide she stretched her arms. The amount that she loved us was beyond her reach. It could not be quantified or contained. It was the ten thousand named things in the Tao Te Ching's universe and then ten thousand more. Her love was full-throated and all-encompassing and unadorned. Every day she blew through her entire reserve.
The next day I picked up the new Saveur, and this bit jumped out in a short essay about being raised by a California sprouts-and-wheat-germ-eating mom:
As we both struggled to define ourselves, our dependence on each other was intense. "I love you this much," Mom would say with arms outstretched. "I love you three times around the world and four times around God, " I'd reply.
So, did all moms without husbands and possibly overly close to the daughters born in the late '60s recite this?