January 14, 2016 by Heather
I have a stack of books I’ve been trying to work my way through before I start class in a couple of weeks. I’m not sure why, but I feel like I have to get all of my “fun” reading done before then, kind of like when you’re pregnant with your first baby and everyone tells you to get caught up on sleep while you can. You could sleep all day everyday and still not be prepared for the hammer to the face that is newborn-induced sleep deprivation. Likewise, I could read all the books on all the topics and still be like, “Wait! Just one more before school starts!” This is, of course, ridiculous, because I can still read whatever I want while in school if I make time for it. My brain just likes to freak me out more than is necessary.
Anyway, I’m a few pages from being finished with Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Yesterday while reading, I came across a section that was really special and felt so relevant that for a second I wondered if Anne had snuck into our house during the previous night and inserted those paragraphs just for me to read. You never know.
So I thought I’d share the excerpt here, just in case someone else has a crazy toddler (redundant?) and is feeling the weight of it real good right about now.
“One night I was lying in bed with Sam when he was about three and a half, and he touched my cheeks tenderly, as if they were sunburned. “I love that little face,” he said, and I felt like in a moment he might squeeze my cheeks and exclaim, “Mein shayner punim!” My beautiful face.
And then the next day Sam was treating me like I was the bunny at his own private Playboy Club and he had run out of drinks half an hour before.
But they are always yours, your books as well as your children. You helped bring your work into being, and every day you have to feed it, help it stay well, give it advice and love it when it ignores you.
Your three-year-old and your work in progress teach you to give. They teach you to get out of yourself and become a person for someone else. This is probably the secret to happiness. So that’s one reason to write. Your child and your work hold you hostage, suck you dry, ruin your sleep, mess with your head, treat you like dirt, and then you discover they’ve given you that gold nugget you were looking for all along.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
HAPPY THURSDAY, someone bring me a coffee keg, please.