Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Mother Finishes Her Work

I don’t have an exact memory of the year I read the first Harry Potter book. But, I do remember I was immediately smitten. I was newly married; no children, and I think we had just moved to Denver. I faithfully read each book as it came along. But there were changes in my life that came along, too. Now, I am a mother of two boys and because of that I recognize something in the author of the Harry Potter series that I never saw before.

The mother.

JKR is obviously someone who has held her child’s hand through the rails of a crib. Someone who sent her child to school in hand-me-downs and hoped they were strong enough to survive it. Perhaps she has consoled a fellow mother as they faced the death or terminal illness of a child. She is also a mother who has learned the ultimate lesson that all mothers must learn. We’re not raising children. We’re raising adults. And if we’ve done our job right, that’s what they will become.

When we ask our children to read the Harry Potter series, we are inviting them to think of fantastical scenarios, stretch their vocabularies, keep young eyes open to the architecture of our worlds, learn a little history (yes, she laces it throughout her imagined country), and even learn to identify and embrace emotional range.

But when we ask a mother to read the Harry Potter series, we invite them to remember that when a child is scared – truly scared – they ask for their mothers. We invite them to realize that parents aren’t the only influence – thank God – and that inspiration can come from some of the most unexpected sources.

The most salient lesson I have learned and have come to accept is that all good things must come to an end. And yet, “a circle has no beginning.” And thus, no end.

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