Wednesday, September 18, 2013

mark the map

I decided recently that I remember not at all as much as some friends do about their childhoods.  Perhaps it's because I grew up as an only child and there weren't others to recall things with very often... or perhaps it's just a weak-me thing.  But I do remember this moment...

I was nearing the top of the slide. I was four, maybe five years old.  And it was the big slide, the one that seemed like it was as tall as our balcony in our second floor apartment.  I was bound to land in a cloud of glory sand dust in just a second...  but I had a revelation.  I was still for a moment contemplating all the ramifications of this blazing realization, this discovery.  I felt like a genius for understanding it all so clearly.   I am me.  I am me and this, my skin, is where I end.  I'm inside me, inside this skin, this body.  I'm in here.  Deep inhale.  Profound moment.

These little milestone moments, when and if I can find them are gems on a growth chart and I love tracking them down, the most special moments I can see for my kids lives, though I know there's many more going on in their hearts and minds that I can't see.

And I'm learning that one fantastically special piece of marking these moments like an x on a map or a notch on their growth charts is in sharing literature with them... What a joy to get to enjoy such good stories with our kids.

How rich we are to invest in stories- reading aloud, listening, loving, exploring, reacting, remembering, learning from stories together.  There is some phenomenal literature out there and I don't think we'll run out of the good stuff by next year like I suspected  not too long ago.

I'm reading Tirzah to our kids aloud right now.  We. Love. It.  What a fantastic privilege to enter into such a story (Tirzah is the story of a young Israelite Jew as she is released, with her people, from slavery in Egypt), to engage with it and enjoy and expand our hearts and minds around these stories together.

We finished reading Caddie Woodlawn a little while ago.  It wasn't striking me as quite the stellar book I was hoping it would be, until about the halfway point.  Then we started laughing out loud a bit more.  And then, at the end of this sweet rolling, like a lazy, enjoyable river, kind of story there was this paragraph that perfectly marked the map for me, Caddie Woodlawn with even more profound words than my discovery at the slide-top.  Her story closes with these two paragraphs:

"What a lot has happened since last year...  How far I've come!  I'm the same girl and yet not the same. I wonder if it's always like that? Folks keep growing from one person into another all their lives, and life is just a lot of everday adventures.  Well, whatever life is, I like it."

"The late afternoon sun flooded her face with golden light.  Looking toward the approaching rider, her face was turned to the west.  It was always to be turned westward now, for Caddie Woodlawn was a pioneer and an American."


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