Marjorie Williams, A Mama Who Told the Real, Real Truth
posted by Sheri
I've been obsessively Googling journalist Marjorie Williams since Slate featured her new book of essays The Woman at the Washington Zoo, compiled by her husband Timothy Noah after her too-soon death from cancer this past January at age 47. Her name and gorgeously honest bits from her essays and the story of her life keep creeping into my life, and so I keep reading and listening to everything I can about her (including the amazing NPR interview with her husband) until I can purchase and savor her book after the holidays. So in my search, I came across this especially timely essay "Telling the Real, Real Truth," in which Williams, already cancer stricken, battles over telling her young children the truth about Santa Claus:
"To turn your children loose in the same uncertainty that wakes you at 4 in the morning feels exactly like cruelty. But amid all the available advice, the piece that makes the most visceral sense to me is the proposition that kids shouldn't have to be vigilant, sentenced constantly to seek out the particulars of a danger they're dimly aware of."
She goes on:
"So when they press me on the subject of Santa, I know it for the test it is. It seems such a huge, sad sacrifice, this consigning of the fantasy of Christmas to the cause of security. More than ever, I wish they would settle for the wormy playbook of parental good cheer. (What do you think? Well, some people think Santa's real, and some people don't!) But finally I square myself to the task..."
So now you too can obsess about her wonderful words, Google her name right and left, and put her book on your Amazon wishlist too. Marjorie Williams was an amazing and brave feminist and mother who had so many wonderful stories to tell and did so honestly. Thank you, Marjorie. I only wish I'd found you sooner.