I often go to the bookstore and sit down in the children’s section with a stack of books to read. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes two. Searching. I’m always looking for stories that affect me on a deeper level. This sounds serious, but the stories don’t have to be serious, just real. This is my hope for my own stories. That they bring something to the world that adds goodness, love, and inspiration (as well as, of course, entertainment). It’s something I think a lot about and even pray for.
Sometimes I think my thoughts and emotions are so complex as an adult, but I so remember being little and thinking the same thing. Today I found Alison McGhee’s book ‘Someday’ and listened to a recording of her read it on npr. It is the story of a mother’s reflections on her small child’s life, what is yet to come and all her emotions that come with it. It gave me that feeling in my stomach that I can only describe like this: When I was little, I once went to my friend’s house for a sleep over. At some point while I was there, I remember this sad feeling I got in my stomach, an empty ache. You could say it was ‘homesickness’ but it was a little more complex. I thought I felt my mom missing me, not just me missing my mom.
In ‘Someday’ the mother remembers, “One day, I counted your fingers and kissed each one.” Later in the book, the mother says, “Someday you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow.” On Monday, our two friends died suddenly, and tears flooded this NM desert. At the memorial yesterday, the large crowd of friends applauded their parents for bringing up two amazing, loving, compassionate individuals with so much respect for life. That applause was so, so sweet. My love and prayers go out to Stephen and Heather’s parents. I could think of no greater pain than losing a child, but I pray that their love and relationship with their children continues to grow, if just now in a different way.
Although our friends left too soon, they left with their hearts on fire and their eyes full of light and joy. What more could we all hope for?
You can listen to Alison read her book ‘Someday’ on npr.org.