At 16, I declared myself an atheist. My sister, quite surprisingly, was most put off by the announcement. She had never shown an indication towards devotion or tradition — not more than our family required of us — but something in her saw this as a betrayal. When she looked at me, perplexed, I could nearly read her mind: Are you ashamed? Are you shedding something?
Should I be shedding something, too?
My mother simply nodded and said, “Okay. Do what you’ve got to do,” as though she felt, somehow, that I would inevitably return to her side of this debate.