Wordless.

There must be some way to describe
standing at the podium of my
favorite bookstore,
Reading a chapter and then telling some exclusive stories,
never before told publicly,
a complete sellout of inventory,
150 people in a space made for 40,
two blissful hours of signing messages inside the book I wrote,
talking to people who have followed from day one,
watching my 8-year-old work the room,
watching my 6-year-old sign his precious scrawling autograph on the dedication page,
and praying aloud in a very secular place that God may bless each person in the room, that as they read the story, they will find God and know truth and carry it into their world.
There must be some way to describe it.

But right now, I’m at a loss.

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Off the Script

The snow turns gray and piles up in the tire wells of my cars.

(I usually like to use the word grey, but this is mess is gray.  Not nearly as pretty as the solemn grey one might paint in the entryway of her home.)

The boys love to come out from school and see what kind of frozen madness has stored up in that space.

“Tucker! Come look on this side!”
“Tyler! Look at this – kick right… here!”

And there is an avalanche of gray slush and giggles.

As we got into the car, I said, “Guys, I really appreciate how you weren’t fighting over who would kick the snow off the tires. You were giving each other chances.”

They looked at me as if I had degraded them.

“Mommy, why would we fight? That’s something ’emenies’ would do. And we’re not ’emenies.’  Why would you ever think that?”

(Why would I?  Why would I ever, ever think that?)

“Oh, you’re not? Well, that’s great to hear. Can you tell me what you are?”

They look at each other and think. I’m fishing for something to validate my years of investing in their friendship, both in the past and in the years to come. Something like, Mommy, we are brothers in blood and in spirit and we are forever thankful you had two children and gave each of us a built-in best friend. You know. Something easy like that.

“We are wolves.”

“Wolves?” Wolves?

“Yes. Wolves are in a pack, and they always stick together. A wolf never leaves the other wolves in his pack. That’s like us.”

wolves

An even better answer than the one I had scripted for them.

Most of all, because they don’t need a script from me.

Guaranteed Leftovers

In the endless quest to create memorable from the mundane, we changed up our breakfast routine since the school day was on a 90-minute delay. Because it was something like -87 degrees outside.

We would go to the grocery store, everybody could pick out their own breakfast item from the bakery, and then we would have varieties of steamed liquid chocolate at the Starbucks inside the store.

Plus, I had nothing for lunches and I was out of all kids’ meds, so you know… that whole two birds with one stone thing. Lunchables anyone? Children’s Motrin? And oh, look! Donuts!

While Tyler and I went to the pharmacy department, Tuck went to the bakery. He wanted to surprise us with a fun variety. I reminded him to use the tissue papers, don’t touch any donuts with his fingers, and ask for help if he needed it. When I met him at the bakery, he was packing donuts into his second box.

Second box.

“Tuck! Woah! What’s happening here?”

“I wanted to surprise you.”

“How many donuts did you get?”

“24.”

“Lovey, how many of us are there?”

“There are three of us, but I wanted us to have leftovers.”

(God, please give us all the self discipline to guarantee leftovers with a ratio of 8 donuts per person.)

“It’s too much, buddy. It’s too many.” And yet, what can I do? Tissue paper or not, these dozens of donuts had been man-handled.  I would now be buying them.

“I’m sorry, Mommy. I just really wanted to surprise you.”

“Well, thank you, Tuck. I am for sure surprised.”

My instructions weren’t literal enough. Not enough details. Perameters. Limitations. An amateur mistake.

And so, as a surprise to us all, we treated the elementary faculty and staff to a treasury of donuts this morning.

Surprise. (!!)

Let’s Call Her “The Dentist.”

There are certain regular exams we undergo: teeth cleanings, physicals, eye checks. There are some appointments that we girls have to make, some things that need to be investigated to make sure that all things feminine are in order, on a routine cycle, and free of lumps and bumps.

In the nature of keeping this blog post rated for general audiences, we’ll say I went to ‘the dentist.’

My ‘Dentist’ and her nurse go way, way back with me. Back to the days of my skeletal self sitting on the table, begging for anything that would just get me to sleep at night. We’ve been down a long road together.  They’ve been taking excellent care of me for years, and I adore them.

And those sweet girls read everything I write. Everything. I think they would tell you more about me than I could, really.

So we go through the list of standard questions:

“Are you sleeping well? Because I see you posting on Facebook in the middle of the night… how is the insomnia?”

“Of course I know you don’t smoke. Do you drink alcohol? No? Because you mention wine fairly frequently on the blog!” (Insert laughter since we all know I’m a lightweight.)

“How is your diet? From reading the blog, I’m not sure it’s so good…”

“Do pets sleep in your room? Where does Murphy sleep?”

The thing is, yes, I write all these things, I post them for the world to read, and then I forget them. I toss my meanderings into the great void, forgetting that someone else is holding the other end of this tin can on a string. You’re reading what I say.
You are hardly a faceless community, and sometimes I bump into you and find myself. You tell me what I’ve been thinking, what I’ve said, what it has meant to you, who it has impacted who’s talking about it… and suddenly, I think, wait. It’s like we’ve had this conversation, and yet I’m pretty sure I was alone in my jammies when I processed those things.

Oh, right. Bloggety blog. The pages of my soul.

And so, then, it was time for the internal part of the ‘dental exam.’ Checking the gums and tonsils for an abnormalities, if you will. And while I lay there indisposed, really kind of unable to complete sentences, and definitely just wanting to pretend this part is over, the dialogue continued.

Not the impersonal, “Say, how ’bout them Broncos at the SuperBowl. Real heartbreaker, ‘eh?”

No. It was, “How are Tucker’s stitches? That sweet boy, if anyone anywhere ever is stingy with the lidocaine, they’ll have to deal with me. I love the pictures you posted of your summer vacation when Robb was alive – the Alpine Slide! Oh, how fun!”

And then, “Oh, wait. You know what? I don’t think we need to do that test where I reach into the back of your throat and take some cells for further testing… because we did that test two years ago, and nobody has been inside your mouth in the last two years, right?”

(clearing throat.) “Right.”

And that’s when I realized that all of this has gone into a realm. When we’re discussing book signings and appearances while I’m getting a pelvic – I mean dental! – exam.

From this day foreward, these conversations can happen anywhere, any time.

It’s Not You; It’s Me.

If you’ve invited me to meet you for coffee, I have likely said no. And I’m sorry about that. It’s not you; it’s me.

I know it seems like I’m not working during the day, but I am.

I know it seems like I love to talk because I’m spilling words all the time, but I actually often have kind of very little to say.

I know it seems like, if I’m having a good day, if I’m in a good place, then I should be able to meet with someone I enjoy to make the day even better.

I know I may seem like an extrovert, and maybe I will be again.

I know I may seem like a hermit, and I probably am, just a little bit.

Please forgive me. It’s not you; it’s me.

***

I believe that solitude, more than anything, breeds creativity, breeds originality.

~ Elizabeth Berg