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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Nora Ephron's best quotes about parenting



noraephron.jpgPeople who only know Nora Ephron from her movies are missing out. The writer and director (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Silkwood), who died Tuesday from pneumonia after a quiet battle with leukemia for the past six years, was first a journalist and then a brilliant essayist. I had a dog-eared copy of Crazy Salad that I turned to often for inspiration when I was a young journalism student. As a writer of deeply personal essays, she of course had a lot to say about parenting.

She even has something to say about the word "parenting," which she said was inspired by the women's movement -- to show how men and women now shared raising children. "Suddenly, one day, there was this thing called parenting. Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce. Parenting was solemn. Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting."

She wrote that in a very moving essay in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck, which you can read here, about the many stages of being a parent, from babies to teens to adulthood. She writes: Parenting was not simply about raising a child, it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving.

Another favorite line of mine from that essay: When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

But she wasn't just funny, she was poignant: “Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it's your last, or do you save your money on the chance you'll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”

The Daily Beast called her "our Dorothy Parker" and collected some of their favorite quotes from her movies, books and essays. You can read them here. And weep.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:29pm]


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