My love for the child asleep in the crib, the child’s need for me, for my vigilance, had made my life valuable in a way that even the most abundantly offered love, my parents’, my brother’s, even Tom’s, had failed to do. Love was required of me now–to be given, not merely to be sought and returned.

Terrible things were ahead of her: Jacob would go to Vietnam. Her father’s surgery had made him an old man. And how would she bear the empty world without her mother in it? There was college to look forward to, boyfriends, marriage, maybe children of her own, but terrible things, too, were attached to any future. What you needed, she thought, was Susan’s ability, her courage, to fix your eyes on the point at which the worst things would be over, gotten through.