“No weaknesses at all.”
“No, would you rather have one weakness nobody could detect or no weaknesses at all?”
“Well I just don’t see why anybody would want a weakness if they could choose to have no weaknesses.”
“If you have a weakness and you wish to get rid of it, then you’re not yourself any more! Your weakness is part of who you are!”
These are the wise words of our Isaac, eight years old. At the beginning of the year when getting-to-know-you exercises abound, Isaac brought home a self-portrait with bright blue eyes, and on the bottom he wrote that his blue eyes and his heart murmur make him special. He’s got a heart murmur he won’t grow out of, and when they first diagnosed it, he thought it might be a defect, but now he’s embraced it as something that makes him different, something to be proud of. After all, there’s nobody on earth with a heart like Isaac’s! I love to think about Isaac thinking about these things. I love to think about him thinking about what makes a person a person, and thinking with such grounded generosity about the weakness that everybody on earth must inevitably have. Of course a weakness is a vulnerability, which is why we keep our weaknesses as secret as we can, and we hope that no one will detect it. Unless we love somebody, and then we open our hearts to them, and trust them with the knowledge of all or our weaknesses and foibles; we share our good and our bad. This takes great courage, but it turns weakness into strength, and Isaac does this better than anyone. He shares his remarkable thoughts, his uncommon contemplations, and his unguarded love with a warmth and wisdom that make him as strong as anyone I know.I have a terrible weakness for ice cream! We’ve been snowed in so many days that I’ve been baking through bag after bag of flour. On one day I made croissants and biscotti, both from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. We changed the biscotti recipe slightly, because Malcolm wanted to add almonds and chocolate. So we added some almond extract, too, and a pinch of cinnamon. They turned out nice! In order to coat one side of them with chocolate I devised the ingenious method of placing chocolate chips along one side when they’re returned to the oven for the final ten minute drying-out period, and then spreading the chocolate once it softened. I think I might have baked them slightly too long, because they were extra crumbly when I tried to slice them, but we put those crumbs to good use! We took any of the half-pieces and mangled pieces and tiny pieces, and we ground them up even further in a food processor with some bittersweet chocolate chips, and we added them to raspberry ice cream. (Wintertime raspberry ice cream, with framboise and raspberry jam rather than fresh raspberries). This turned out deeeeeeelicious!
Here’s The Weakest Part by Yo La Tengo.