How to Love Your Daughter

How to Love Your Daughter

The following is from Hila Blum's How to Love Your Daughter . Blum is the of the Israeli bestsellers The Visit and How to Love Your Daughter , which won the Sapir Prize. She is also a book editor. She lives in Jerusalem, where she was born and raised. The first time I saw my granddaughters, I was standing across the street, didn't dare go any closer. The windows in the suburban neighborhoods of Groningen hang large and low—I was embarrassed by how effortlessly I'd gotten what I'd come for, frightened by how easily they could be gobbled up by my gaze. But I too was exposed. The slightest turn of their heads, and they would have seen me. The girls took no interest in the goings‑on outside. They were entirely absorbed in themselves, in their minute concerns. Girls with the kind of light, thin hair that spills between your fingers like flour. They were alone in the living room, too close within my reach. Had I been asked, I would have been at a loss to explain my presence. I left. I waited for darkness to fall and lights to flicker on inside houses. This time I ventured closer, hesitating for a few moments before I crossed the street. I almost tapped on the windowpane. I was astonished by the ease with which the family moved . That was not how I remembered my daughter—I was stunned by the power of her presence. I whispered her name, “Leah, Leah,” just to make sense of what I was seeing. I stood there, not for long, a few minutes. Leah's daughters, Lotte and Sanne, were sitting at the dimly lit dining room table and yet seemed to be in constant motion, shifting the yellow light to and fro. Her husband, Johan, stood in the kitchen with his back to me, toiling over dinner, while Leah passed between the rooms, crucified by the window frame, disappearing from one room and reappearing in another, bending reality as if she could walk through walls. Even though the living room fireplace wasn't lit, […]

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