I remember being in school and making elaborate charts and folded paper self quiz sheets in order to memorize dates and facts and names and events. I require different colored pens and just the right lined paper (college ruled, not the other kind) and even in my second bachelor's degree when the entire class was lined up behind their laptops and tablets, I was still rummaging through my bag for a pen. There is a brain-hand connection for me that words flow easily from the tip of a medium point rollerball ink pen, and fritzes out when I tried to type class notes.
I worked at a high end stationery store on Magazine Street in New Orleans for a year and fell in love with beautiful paper and expensive writing utensils. I love the tactile feel of pen and paper and skin.
I refuse to purchase an e-reader because I believe with all my heart that the second I do, every Barnes and Noble on the east coast will fold. I and my purist ideals alone are keeping bookshops alive. There is nothing like a real book, turning real pages, glancing at real cover art, arranging real books on real shelves into an autobiographical literary memoir. Much like John Cusack's record collection in High Fidelity, I have only to look at my bookshelves and remember that I spent my mid 20's reading nothing but books about Middle Eastern women. It started with Reading Lolita in Tehran and ended somewhere in the middle of The Bookseller of Kabul.
My in-laws used to joke that the only things I read were about prostitution or oppression or gender inequality in Muslim culture... or People magazine. Which I refer to as my "ethnography of celebrity culture". Seriously, it is a separate people group who have their own ways of living that would not be sustainable outside their culture.
I have now written four paragraphs that have nothing to do with what I intended to sit down and write about. Shall I start over or keep going??...
Obvious answer. Keep going.
Yesterday I was sitting outside on the back porch while Knox and Purslane ran around in the long awaited sunshine. They were bathing suited, sprinkler set up, popsicle stains on their arms, HAPPY. So I settled in with a glass of white wine, my new giraffe print sunglasses and a book that Grant bought me a few weeks ago called Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, by Gloria Furman. I didn't expect to like this book to be honest, having read my fair share of "how to survive" and "be the greatest and then some" books on parenting young children. But this book is different. She assumes from the onset that a Christian mother desires to be a Christian first and parent second. And thus her book is about common struggles that often have spiritual groundings.
I was reading a chapter about the cries of our children symbolizing life and the reminder that Christ came in physical body to bring us life. My heart was rising and I was sinking into the peace that comes from connecting to your inner beliefs and solid core. This is what I know to be true. Being a parent is a constant reminder that you can do more then you thought possible, sacrifice more then you believed you could, and somehow be more whole then the days when you were free to discover every corner of yourself. And maybe most importantly experience the overwhelming relief of every sunrise where my babes forget the grumpy Mama I was the day before, and jump into our bed so happy the night is over and they can be with me again. Children are amazing with their short memories and full hearts.
I wish there was a font or a type color that would reflect what it looks/feels/sounds like to be sitting blissfully connecting holistically with the universe, and have a soccer ball thrown from the hands of a toddler directly at my face and (my friend Kirstin is cringing knowing what is coming next) hitting my wine glass on the way to the ground. Pain in my face. Chilly wine down the front of my dress and splashing on my book. The sharp intake of my breath as my perfect moment takes a 180 degree turn.
I wipe wine out of my eyes and see Knox standing in front of me with a shocked look on his face- like he was just as surprised as I was at the outcome of his spontaneous action. And he very nervously said "I sorry Mama!" in his sweet two year old lisp.
And as I scoop him up and run him into the sprinkler for his "punishment", we squeal in the cold water together and I realize that some lessons go deep into our souls. And I am grateful. Soaking wet and minus one relaxing glass of wine, but grateful.