Along with legions of fans and friends and family, Nora Ephron leaves behind her two sons: Jacob and Max. In her 2006 essay collection “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” she wrote about the experience of being their mother. The piece was called “Parenting in Three Stages.” Like everything Nora wrote, it was personal, but it was a statement that resonated with all of us. She recounted what it was like to raise children from babies to adulthood, but she also pointed out that the notion of “parenting” as a thing was entirely new. She said:
“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. Parenting meant playing Mozart CDs while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural, and breast-feeding your child until it was old enough to unbutton your blouse.”
If we could republish the whole of the essay here we would, but we can’t and you should go read it. Instead, in honor of a mother who did it all and more, here are several of our favorite quotes, both from that particular piece and from other wise things Nora has said about this thing we all do every day — whether you like calling it “parenting” or not.
If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters. The beginning is glorious, especially if you’re lucky enough not to have morning sickness and if, like me, you’ve had small breasts all your life. Suddenly they begin to grow, and you’ve got them, you’ve really got them, breasts, darling breasts, and when you walk down the street they bounce, truly they do, they bounce bounce bounce.
– Nora Ephron, “Heartburn”
We’d say we were so lucky we have this wonderful relationship. … We can fly off to Rome on a moment’s notice. And then one day I was taking Alice’s little girl for the afternoon … and we were in the cab playing “I Spy” … and she looked out the window and she saw this man and this woman with these two little kids. And the man had one of the little kids on his shoulders, and she said, “I spy a family.” And I started to cry … And I went home, and I said, “The thing is, Joe, we never do fly off to Rome on a moment’s notice.”
– Sally Albright, “When Harry Met Sally…”We have lived through the era when happiness was a warm puppy, and the era when happiness was a dry martini, and now we have come to the era when happiness is “knowing what your uterus looks like.”– Nora Ephron, “Crazy Salad”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.– Nora Ephron, “I Feel Bad About My Neck”