Tuesday, August 24, 2004

“As you wish.”

The Movie: The Princess Bride, 1987 (William Goldman, screenwriter; Rob Reiner, dir.)
Who says it: Cary Elwes as Westley the Farm Boy; later, the Dread Pirate Roberts
The context: This is all Westley ever says to the beautiful maiden Buttercup, but what he’s really saying is “I love you.”
How to use it: I don't know about you, but it's a lot easier for me to say "As you wish," than "I love you."

My family is not particularly demonstrative, and I think we all prefer it that way. Alice McDermott writes great novels about Irish-Americans that explain this much better than I could. It's less a matter of not feeling emotion than a respect for each other's space (which was important in the house where I grew up, four bedrooms that held eight people and several animals).

But if we're not great huggers, and we don't throw the mushy words around, there's still no question of the rock-solid affection that binds us all, and this past week has proved it again. It's not about words; it's about doing whatever it takes in order to take care of each other.

Mom's better today. I hope she'll be even better tomorrow. Her strength is amazing, and it supports us all as it has for almost 40 years. I wish I were there; I'm so grateful to my sisters and my brothers and my dad for keeping me in the circle, and being sympathetic rather than annoyed at my being trapped here.

Six more days in this apartment -- big moving sale on Saturday. E-mail me for details.

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