Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
Back to Blog
Aaron is the son of Anna and the son of Joshua in The Ice Widow. Much of the time he is a figure in the background, silent in the shadows.
Anna and Joshua never really sit down and make a firm plan for Aaron. Joshua would like to plan, and encourages Anna to settle in Endor and raise Aaron there. Although he is marrying Leah, he wants to remain on friendly terms with Anna, so that Aaron will grow up with both parents nearby, and will live surrounded by all his family history. Reah, one of the guiding people Anna meets on her journey, sums it up:
This is not seen as an awkward thing or a bad thing; it is the best of both worlds. For Anna, though, this is not possible. Her life with Joshua would have to be her life together with Joshua on her terms, and when she knows she cannot have this, she isolates herself more and more.
Anna’s mother worries; she suspects that Aaron is “Anna’s Joshua-token”, and that she loves him “but as a memory, sometimes, more than a real child.”
Joshua and his family are very accepting and welcoming people, happy to have Aaron around, and willing to welcome Anna. The offer for her to come to Endor is made often, and Joshua comes to visit his son each summer until Aaron is old enough to travel to Endor. Eventually, Aaron asks to spend more time with his father, and one day, he is simply living in Endor and visiting his mother each summer.
Some feel that Joshua and Leah and Anna work together for the benefit of Aaron, that they keep in touch and plan together for his benefit. A close scrutiny reveals that there is little dialogue; it appears that Anna simply lets things roll along that way. She does not try to enter Aaron's Labrador life, except that one ill-fated Christmas visit and his high school graduation, at which she realizes “that he had become a man without her bearing witness to his life.”
Yet Aaron turns out well, a tribute to all his cultural backgrounds. His mother is anxious to be a good parent, but there is little interaction between mother and son. His father is happy to see Aaron settled in his family, but the insistence on Anna’s participation leads to anxious moments for Aaron: “Aaron had his mother-home moments, and then his father-home-panorama-of-family. That way was comfortable. If the settings overlapped, he knew, he would lose both worlds.”
Why does Aaron turn out well? I attribute this to the gentle, loving presence of Leah. She is simply there, with love and a hug when it is needed. She is the one who grounds them all.
And that, my friends, is what we really need – one face that smiles for us, one set of arms that embraces us. Someone who believes in us, cries for us, and laughs for us. That is the face in the window that watches for us. I pray that each of us will find and honour that one who will carry us.