Archive for the ‘sons’ Tag

Seeking Refuge   Leave a comment

I hate to admit it, but I’m not as shocked as I once was by the barrage of images in the media revealing the plight of refugees from war-torn countries. The accounts of horror, squalor and multitudes are now commonplace. Thankfully, Nadia Hashimi’s fictional When the Moon is Low has shaken me from complacency in a way the reality no longer does.

This beautifully written novel follows Fereiba from her birth in Kabul to motherhood as she flees from Afghanistan with three children in tow.

Much of the narrative is first person voice as Fereiba recounts her life which begins when her mother dies giving birth. Her father remarries, but Fereiba is a motherless daughter in a country with little regard for women. She’s initially denied the opportunity to attend school, but eventually pursues an education and ultimately becomes a teacher. An arranged marriage provides her with the love, support and friendship she never experiences growing up.

With the rise of the Taliban, Fereiba fears for her family’s lives. What follows is an arduous journey, the kindness of strangers and the heartbreaking separation that occurs when she is forced to choose between waiting for her missing adolescent son, Saleem, and seeking care for sickly infant Aziz.

Midway through, Fereiba’s voice gives way to Saleem’s perspective as he tries to find his family. The goal is England where Fereiba’s sister lives. Saleem’s experiences are harrowing, but his determination is heroic in his efforts to reunite with his mother, sister and brother.

When the Moon is Low
Four-and-a-half Bookmarks
William Morrow, 2015
382 pages

Mother’s Pride, Indulge Me (Please)   11 comments


When our boys were little, and not so little, we read to them. Often, that wasn’t enough for our middle son, Tim, who insisted on a special story as he was tucked into bed each night. These were the Tim Stories, and each one always began the same way: Once upon a time there was a little boy named Tim whose parents loved him very much…

I don’t remember when the Tim Stories stopped, but the reading aloud continued for many, many years. We read at night. We read in the car on road trips. We read on camping trips, in tents when it rained or by the campfire with the help of a flashlight when it was clear. We read series written by C.S. Lewis, Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowlands. Heck, we had a book we read during dinner for a while. It was a fun one about manners (Do I have to Say Hello by Delia Ephron). We read a lot out loud.

Reading has always been hard for Tim. Although he struggled with it in school, he developed some great strategies. He is an excellent listener, he discovered books on tape, and he learned to ask questions for clarification, for help. He studied with tutors. He worked more than his brothers, harder than his friends or anyone else around.

This week Tim graduates from college — early. And, he still knows a good story when he hears one: Once upon a time there was a young man named Tim whose parents love him very much…

Mothers and Sons   Leave a comment

As the mother of sons I was compelled to read The Mama’s Boy Myth:
Why Keeping
Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger by Kate Stone
Lombardi. My oldest, in his mid-20s, often boasts of being a “mama’s boy,”
however, my other two have yet to claim to the same title. Nonetheless, I
feel close to all three. Of course, they don’t tell me everything, but they share
quite a lot. More importantly, I no longer feel the way I did when they were
younger: that our relationship would stop flourishing as they got older. That
is not happening at all, and, according to Lombardi, I am not the only mother
enjoying this experience.

Lombardi combines interviews with mothers of sons, excerpts from studies,
personal experience, and historic trends that have led her to conclude there
is nothing wrong with strong bonds between moms and their boys. In fact,
she highlights a number of benefits for males. These include possessing more
expressive and thoughtful qualities. Yet until now, little has been written to
correct the bum rap directed toward moms if their sons were too sensitive or
socially inept; and having a male role model was considered the way to over-
come “problems” caused by a mom with tight apron strings.

Dads, as Lombardi notes, don’t face such scrutiny in their relationships with
daughters. All parents should be encouraged to maintain close ties with their
children. For moms it should happen without Oedipus’s looming shadow.

The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Ours Sons Close Makes Them Stronger
Three Bookmarks
Penguin Group, 2012
324 pages (includes notes)

Posted May 13, 2012 by bluepagespecial in Books, Reviews

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