Meanwhile, At Litro: Parenting, Reading, Emigrating, Love

This is my new piece for Litro Magazine, about my mother, the experience of emigration, and reading. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for them.




14 thoughts on “Meanwhile, At Litro: Parenting, Reading, Emigrating, Love

  1. That is a really wonderful and powerful piece. Your mum must be so incredibly proud of you. It must have taken a great deal of courage to see you come to the UK at 18, knowing from her own experience that you might not come back.

    • I’m so glad you liked it. And yes – I know it must have cost her. She’s delighted that I’m here, but we only see each twice a year, and I only see my dad and brother once, on average. Ain’t easy. On the other hand, she loves that I’m back in the country she loves, so that helps. 🙂

  2. This is a wonderful article, Eleanor. So much of it resonated with me. I first came to the UK when I was 19 for a study abroad year. Literally the last thing my dad advised me as we were saying our goodbyes in front of the security queue at Dulles was “now don’t go finding Mr. Right over there.” Of course, not two months later, what had I done? So the Brit, now my husband, is the reason I’ve stayed. And in the meantime the family I left behind has almost completely fallen apart: my parents have separated, my mom moved away, my brother-in-law died. I do sometimes feel like I lost the last few good years that were possible for all of us, and it still hurts that I’m missing my nephews growing up, and may miss out on my mother’s last period of moderately good health.

    Over the years when people have commented on how brave I was to settle in another country I’ve been surprised. Brave? I just went where life took me. Your determination to make your life in the UK strikes me as truly brave in contrast.

    P.S. My mother’s reading tastes are totally the same as your mum’s: heart-warming and life-affirming (and preferably Christian) all the way!

    (You have to forgive me for catching up on all your recent posts at once. I’m not good at using the WordPress reader and only tend to regularly read those blogs to which I’m an e-mail subscriber. If it arrives in my inbox I read and respond right away.)

    • Rebecca, I love this and I’m so glad my piece resonated with you. (I was ordered by my own father “not to marry a Duke”. So far, so good.) It does hurt. And it is brave, no matter whether you meant to or did it by accident—one has to be open to these things even if they end up being subconscious decisions. The good thing is that having loving parents means two (or more, I suppose) people who want you to be happy no matter where you are. It’s the fact that my parents and brother are so happy about the experiences I’m having that makes me not feel completely heartbroken sometimes.

      • Having the family’s moral support does help. I just wish I could get some of them over here to visit — they haven’t been back since my wedding in 2007, so I’m always the one to make the trip.

        What’s wrong with marrying a duke? Surely that would be a good aspirational American thing to do 😉

      • It’s so expensive to fly, isn’t it?! And travel insurance seems to be crazy expensive too. (I never bother with it, but my English grandparents haven’t been to the US for several years because it’s just going through the roof for them, especially as they age.)

        Heh, if this were 1916 I’d probably be channeling Becky Sharp or an Edith Wharton/Henry James character and angling for a duke. As it is, I have a feeling the current crop is intensely boring.

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