Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I loved reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved Atticus Finch and I loved Scout and I loved Calpurnia and I loved that tired old town and I wanted to be there living those adventures as the keenly observant Scout did with Dill to blame and Jem to shout at and Atticus to complain (without success) to. I shake my head at Lisa the seventh grader. I did not know that what I was reading then was a such a fine illustration of social mores and injustice and defined roles in our world. I didn't know then that there will never be as many Atticus's in the world as there should be. I only knew that a book could take me to a place in such a direct and unassuming way and make me want to stay. Later I taught To Kill a Mockingbird and watched hipper kids than myself get drawn in and tonight, I get to talk to adults who have only just read this book for the first time. I hope I don't cry. That's how strongly I feel about this book. It's the first introduction I had to thinking about life in someone else's skin. It's the first introduction I had to a world that does not treat everyone fairly and it's a lesson I have never ever forgotten. Who am I kidding? I will cry... but it's all good. I love that about books.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I get it. I've gotten it for awhile, but this morning at 5:00 a.m. as I was creeping past their bedrooms to get some alone time, I peeked in at each little one and my heart just lurched and squeezed and stopped and thumped all at once. Those babies, my babies, aren't really babies any more. Sometimes their bodies are unfamiliar to me. How can that be? Two kids with legs that are longer than mine, the girl who is, umm...developing, and the boy who seems to grow in his sleep. They seem like imposters--someone has stolen my babies! But....the trick is this: you must sneak in late at night or early in the morning to be reminded. Sleep softens the blow and takes you back to the way they clutched their stuffy or thumbed their blankie and curled their mouth just so since their beginning. I can't stop the clock or turn back time, but sleep lets me revisit who they once were. It helps a bit. But daybreak always comes and with it, the challenge of becoming familiar with these new little people, my babies.