I’ve recently become involved in a new relationship. Jon is actually incredibly understanding about it, although it keeps me from sleeping with him at times. I find myself thinking about my new love instead of my husband. It distracts me at all hours of the day and night. I find my mind wandering at the oddest moments, while I’m washing dishes or picking kids up from school. It makes it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. It’s all very enticing and alluring.
My relationship is with words. I have discovered a renewed love of words and stories. I’ve always been a reader, losing myself in someone else’s life through a book. But I realized this week how much more it is than that. My revelation began with Lulu Grace. Watching her grow into a little girl has been a treat for me. It is like I am watching myself as a child. She is so much like me at times that Jon has to stand back and laugh. He loves knowing that he can see a child-like me through her. One of the biggest pieces of that is her love for words. She is talking, talking, talking all of the time. (For those who don’t personally know me, that characteristic is NOT like me. I would prefer to never talk if I could get away with it.) She loves to make up songs, poems, and will repeat rhyming phrases over and over to herself, savoring the words as they roll off of her tongue. She is learning to read. It has been a struggle to help her understand the concept of letters making up words, but all of a sudden it clicked. And now, she can’t get enough of books. She is learning that joy of entering another world through words.
As I watched her the other day, reading Dr. Suess, I had a flashback to my childhood. Every night for several years, I couldn’t wait to climb into bed with my favorite friend. This friend comforted me, made me laugh, helped me feel like all was right with the world, as I dozed off to sleep. My favorite friend was Shel Silverstein. His book, Where the Sidewalk Ends, was my Bible. I walked over to Lulu’s bookcase and searched for my book. Angels were singing, a glow eminating from the pages as I reached out for my long-lost companion. I carried it over to Lulu and told her about my favorite book and how I would like to share it with her. So we sat and read, giggling, looking at the crazy illustrations. I could see her begin to fall in love with the cadence of the words, the wackiness of the stories these words tell, as she repeated at the end of every poem, “One more!”
The first poem in Where the Sidewalk Ends is called Invitation. As a little girl, it was my ritual to begin the journey of entering into my favorite world by reading this poem first every night.
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
And so this is where I find myself, lured in to spinning a tale, with a childlike wonder over words, the possibility that they hold as I write them on a page, the world to be created through words that describe the images I see in my head. I’m relieved that my husband is so supportive of this new relationship, although at times it takes me worlds away from our own lives. He can see when I’m wandering off to some other place. Sometimes he calls me back, but more often than not lately, he lets me go. What a gift – to be allowed to share life with your two greatest loves.