Nov. 3, 2011
Joan Desmond has written a nice review of the new Steve Jobs biography in the National Catholic Register:
In it she recounts Jobs gratitude to his biological mother for not choosing abortion:
[Biographer Walter] Isaacson traces Jobs effort to find his biological mother, a Midwestern graduate student raised in a Catholic family. I wanted to meet my biological mother mostly to see if she was okay and to thank her, because Im glad I didnt end up as an abortion. She was 23 and went through a lot to have me, Jobs told his biographer.
Apparently Jobs biological mother sought to secure his future well-being by insisting that a college-educated couple adopt her son. Instead, recounts Desmond, two high-school dropouts provided a loving and secure home and a garage where Jobs watched his father fix things and make them work. Meanwhile, the well-credentialed biological father left his children in the lurch.
This last point presents a major theme of the biographer: that the circumstances of Steve Jobs birth to unmarried parents and adoption as an infant left him with deep abandonment issues that impacted the rest of his life. But so, too, is there healing and redemption through love the love of his adoptive parents, the experience of loving his own children, and the love between Jobs and his sister, Mona Simpson, whom he didnt meet until they were both adults:
After his death, Simpson offered a eulogy that reflected on the emotional scars inflicted by their biological father and the healing power of her brothers love. Even as a feminist, my whole life Id been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, Id thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man, and he was my brother, said Simpson.
One incident Desmond highlights gives testimony to Jobs determination to be a very present father to his own children, despite all of the money and fame:
Theres a wonderful scene in the biography when Bill Gates comes to pay his respects to his old nemesis. While Gates lives in a house that rivals the square footage of Versailles, Jobs consciously chose to reside in a comparatively modest residence that functioned without live-in staff or a security detail. The Jobs family gathered every night at the kitchen table for dinner. When Gates checks out Jobs home, he asks in wonderment, Do you all live here?
How wonderful, that part of the legacy of this American genius is the potential greatness of every unwanted child and the enormous significance of fatherhood.