Love is remembering and sharing

In the last year and a half, I’ve managed to transform my hobby-and-occasional-gig into a sustainable career. Which, frankly, still amazes me. When we were down in Georgia a couple of weeks ago, someone asked me what I did and I answered, “I’m a writer” without batting an eyelash.

I had only a short period of time to bask in this accomplishment before the logical follow-on to triumph took over: Exhaustion. Freelancing is not for wimps. There are no paid vacations, no sick days, and it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of working all hours, every day of the week. And then? What initially felt SO GOOD starts to feel a little bit like the third circle of hell.

The last couple of weeks, one thing has prevented me from tossing my computer out the nearest window and declaring that I will never write a single word again. Every night the kids come pile onto my bed and we read. I’ve been reading to the kids at bedtime for, well, forever. But I’m finally sharing one of my very favorites with them, and remembering that YES, I LIKE WORDS. Words make me happy. Sharing words makes me even happier.

In fact, our current book is one I picked up several years before Chickadee was born, when we still lived in California. I paid $1.63 for it (the price is written on the inside of the cover). I bought it because I remembered loving it as a kid, and I hoped that someday I’d have a child (or two or three) to share it with. And here I am, 11 years later, two little creatures burrowing under my blankets and begging me to “KEEP READING!

So tonight, as we finished our chapter, the kids begged and pleaded for us to keep going, keep reading, because they cannot bear not to know what happens next. They pelted me with questions all the way down the hall and while I tucked them in. (Is their father okay? Will Charles Wallace be alright? Will they get home? What is IT?)

I know the answers, but I smile and tell them to wait and see, because I don’t want to ruin it for them.

The funny thing is, in the mornings, when I sit down to my work again, I think about reading that book for the first time when I was Chickadee’s age. And then I think about my children cuddled up to me, listening with rapt attention, hearing it for the first time. And even though I’m not writing anything nearly so magical, I remember that I love what I do. All of it.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone.

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42 Responses to “Love is remembering and sharing”

  1. 1
    ChristieNY March 15, 2007 at 12:12 am #

    ::: sigh ::: Soooo sweet!

    Of course we thought it was going to be us adoring readers that kept you from throwing the computer out the window, but we won’t hold it against you that it was Chickie and Monk.

    They sound like great kids. With a great Mama. Happy love Thursday pretty Mir! :)

  2. 2
    jenn2 March 15, 2007 at 12:21 am #

    Ahhhh… one of my favorites as well. I never got to read it to Drama Queen. She read it herself, years after I tried. Perhaps Missy Hoohaw and Big Red will love it as much as their big sis.

  3. 3
    chris March 15, 2007 at 12:22 am #

    I love that book. I tried getting my older kids to read it but they wren’t interested. Maybe I need to read it out loud.

  4. 4
    Jen March 15, 2007 at 12:40 am #

    Ahhh, I am going to re-read it I think, and introduce it to my kids. Because right now, I have been feeling absolutely SICK of the written word, and for me? That’s blasphemy.

  5. 5
    dianeinjapan March 15, 2007 at 12:52 am #

    What a lovely piece of inspiration this was, Mir–thanks for sharing!

  6. 6
    Judy March 15, 2007 at 12:54 am #

    That, along with all her others, is one of my absolute favorites! Now I have to go reread them all….

  7. 7
    Cele March 15, 2007 at 2:15 am #

    Reading together was always a special time as my daughter was growing up. I didn’t realize how much I’d depended on reading time with her and how much I had missed it until Ben and I had begun our bed time reading. To know how much it meant to Psam’s childhood, that she brought to parenthood makes me cry.

  8. 8
    bonggamom March 15, 2007 at 2:21 am #

    My kids are not old enough to appreciate that book yet, but when they are, I hope they still enjoy having their mama read to them like you do!

  9. 9
    Heather March 15, 2007 at 4:59 am #

    Well honey it’s pretty obvious why you’re a writer :-) You have such a wonderful ability to draw us in, and make us remember our own magical moments. Thank you :-)

  10. 10
    meredith March 15, 2007 at 6:18 am #

    The love of words and reading is such a great thing to share with children.

  11. 11
    Barb March 15, 2007 at 7:11 am #

    How very ironic! Last night, as I was picking up the toy explosion in my living room, for absolutely no reason at all I found myself thinking “I should read A Wrinkle in Time again. I wonder if it’s as magical as I remember?” Guess what I’m going to check out from the library on my way home today? Of course, at 5 and 3, my kids are a little young for it so I guess I’ll just have to read it to myself.

  12. 12
    MomCat March 15, 2007 at 7:37 am #

    Loved it! Thanks for the warm fuzzies. :)

  13. 13
    Brigitte March 15, 2007 at 7:51 am #

    I have that same book stashed away – as well as many other favorites from my youth, from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to the Narnia and Edgar Eager books . . . and I didn’t have the excuse of looking forward to Mommyhood!

    But now that I AM a mommy, my daughter is going to have all of these read to her, whether she wants them or not!

  14. 14
    Sara March 15, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    I love books and their ability to move us. And I have so many I want to share with my kids. This one is just one in the long list.

  15. 15
    Brigitte March 15, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    Or was that EDWARD Eager?

  16. 16
    Spinoff March 15, 2007 at 9:06 am #

    My oldest child will turn 21 in a few months, my youngest is 15. All four knew they could distract me from anything (work, piano practice, time-out)simply by holding up a book and saying, “Read to me, Mama?” “A Wrinkle in Time” was the first grown-up book they inherited from my childhood, and this summer I’ll read the final Harry Potter book to them and be sad for a moment because it will probably be the last one I read out loud to my own boys before they have children of their own to read to. Lovely words, Mir.

  17. 17
    Michelle March 15, 2007 at 9:18 am #

    I’m learning that about freelancing now. It can spin out of control very easily, but I remind myself that it’s better (for me) than anything else I could be doing. Then there’s those lovely books with words and magic and stuff! Oh, those remind me why I spend hours at the computer not making money, plucking away at that novel. Thanks for the reminder!

  18. 18
    Mom2One March 15, 2007 at 9:21 am #

    A Wrinkle in Time. Ohhhh, I’m going to have to re-read that one. I have some of the Nate the Great books — which I didn’t read as a kid, but have bought them for obvious reasons — and can’t wait to read them when Nate’s old enough for books like that. He sees them and says “I saw all the Nate books!” all excited.

    Cool deal!

  19. 19
    chris March 15, 2007 at 9:35 am #

    so, so beautifully done! i remember SO well the excitement i felt when i discovered that book. sharing somthing like that is,as they say, pricless!

  20. 20
    JayMonster March 15, 2007 at 9:43 am #

    You know, I am certainly glad that you LIKE it again, because it would be really disconcerting to me that you write this well and hated it! (OK, could be a bit of jealousy too, but you get my point).

  21. 21
    dad March 15, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    Once again.
    I love Thursdays.
    Don’t ever stop.

  22. 22
    Aimee March 15, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    Oh wow… A Wrinkle In Time. I freaking *loved* that book! Just seeing the cover made me feel a little googly. Thanks for making me feel like a kid again, even if only for a (oh! my aching bones) second.

  23. 23
    wordgirl March 15, 2007 at 11:00 am #

    I was in the 6th grade when our teacher read that book aloud to us and I was smitten immediately. With the book…not the teacher. L’Engle’s adult non-fiction continues to be a huge favorite with me. As for freelancing…I know what you mean. When I was writing for our local alternative rag the publisher (himself a man who lived off of his familiy’s 9West shoe fortune)wanted us to write like full-timers, but he paid us like part-timers. It was a tough gig.

  24. 24
    Genevieve March 15, 2007 at 12:24 pm #

    Love all of L’Engle. Started reading Wrinkle to the kiddo when we were at someone’s house a couple months ago and saw their copy, but holding off on the rest of it till he’s a little older (about Chickadee’s age).

    Brigitte, it is Edward Eager. My kiddo loves those books (yay! some of my childhood favorites), especially Knight’s Castle.

  25. 25
    Brandi March 15, 2007 at 12:26 pm #

    I love that feeling about reading. My brothers hate/d reading, so I was the only one to constantly read books. I feel sad they don’t get the same magical feeling I do!

  26. 26
    Femtastic March 15, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    Thing the first: I envy your career so much — you are who/what I want to be when I grow up, even with the challenges. After 20 years working in other people’s offices and doing other people’s gruntwork I’m getting very close to that moment where I add “pack gun” to my list of morning activities. (mostly kidding.)

    Thing the second: I have the same reaction to the book The Princess Bride, which my sister read to me when we were kids. I was old enough to read it myself, but she asked if I would let her read it out loud, and now whenever I re-read it (one of the only books that I do re-read) I hear everything in her voice. It’s so much better that way.

  27. 27
    Tiny Coconut March 15, 2007 at 1:35 pm #

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. I just finished reading that book a couple of months ago with my 9-year-old. (Unlike Monkey, my 6-year-old doesn’t have the attention span for chapter books yet, which breaks my heart…Thank goodness for the older one.) It IS the Greatest Book Ever Written, and it was incredible watching her just lap up every moment of the story and wish for more, more, more.

    We just finished reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, which was a total hoot to read together. You and Chickadee might want to give that one a try.

  28. 28
    Erin March 15, 2007 at 1:41 pm #

    Ohhh I love Madeline L’Engle SO MUCH! I love ALL of her books, and now proudly own each and every one of them and I read them whenever I need to feel safe and cozy and relaxed. I’m a graduate student, and last fall as a particularly difficult one for me (lots of “Why am I doing this? What do I want out of this?” along with teaching a brand new class that required mountains of prep and still made me feel inadequately prepared). My solace? Reading the Wrinkle in Time series. I found them so incredibly comforting. I’d never read any of L’Engle’s other young adult books (neither the Arm of the Starfish Murry-O’Keeffe series or the Meet the Austins series), so I picked those up at a Half Price Books and have been loving the hell out of them ever since.

    Anyway. Just a note to say that I was having a kind of crappy day today myself, and reading your post reminded me of the things that make me happy, too. So thanks, Mir.

  29. 29
    Susan March 15, 2007 at 2:09 pm #

    Beautifully said!

    My mother wrote (for children) for a living. I wish I had even a smidgen of her writing talent.

    What a gift you have!

  30. 30
    Warrior Knitter March 15, 2007 at 2:51 pm #

    As soon as I saw the words in your link (wrinklecover) I thought could it be? Is it? And it IS!!!

    I LOVE that book and re-read it every now and again. It was the first science fiction book I ever read and that book turned me onto that whole wonderful genre.

  31. 31
    Parrot Wrangler March 15, 2007 at 3:13 pm #

    Wrinkle in Time is definitely ONE OF THE ALL TIME BIGGIES. I also loved “Knee Deep In Thunder” when I was around 12 yr. I want to share that my 9 yr old is now on the third Nancy Drew that I gave to her from my stash of 20 from my childhood including 5 that were my mom’s (my cutie keeps laughing at phrases such as “Nancy and her chums pulled on their gloves and sallied forth in her roadster”).

  32. 32
    David March 15, 2007 at 3:27 pm #

    *sigh* Another delightful, relaxing, drift-back-in-time post. I’m almost certain I read that book once — the title sounds so familiar — but if so, it was a LONG time ago. Mayhap, I should go find a copy and see if it was so. You’re never too old to read a really good story again. :-)

  33. 33
    Pastormac's Ann March 15, 2007 at 8:49 pm #

    That’s a great book! Funny thing is, my husband and i read that one to each other when we got married. I had never read it growing up but he had. He introduced me to all sorts of great books.

    How wonderful that you have that special time together and that it gives you inspiration to go on doing what you do each day. Happy LT.

  34. 34
    Nichole March 15, 2007 at 11:19 pm #

    Sigh. You write the best Love Thursdays.

  35. 35
    fairly odd mother March 16, 2007 at 12:38 pm #

    Awesome. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  36. 36
    Lauren Dillon March 16, 2007 at 3:59 pm #

    I just discovered you somehow in my wanderings around blogland and am pleased/jealous/nostalgic. I am pleased because I am already enjoying your writing and love to find an unexpected surprise while just sitting at my computer. I am jealous because, even though you sometimes feel in the third circle of Hell, you are doing what I want to do. How did you manage it? Could you write and tell me? Finally, I am nostalgic because “A Wrinkle in Time” was my favorite childhood book and I remember wondering about all those same things your children are squirming to know. I hope you are going to read “The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” next. That was my second favorite.

  37. 37
    Heather Cook March 16, 2007 at 8:08 pm #

    That beats the heck out of Captain Underpants. But what can I expect if I let the five year old pick the book based on the cover.

  38. 38
    Melanie March 16, 2007 at 9:04 pm #

    I read that book to my son when he was a baby, mostly just to re-read it myself (and to be able to tell him that he read it at a few months old). It was so cool, snuggling up with his tiny self reading aloud til he fell asleep. We read longer books now, too, and I love it still, but something about reading to a baby was just magical. I used to read him tons of poetry, too.

  39. 39
    bookbk March 16, 2007 at 10:42 pm #

    It’s been amazing–and inspiring–to see you turn your writing into a career. And I love reading about the kids’ books you still love.

  40. 40
    Mama Mia March 17, 2007 at 1:25 am #

    Also a favourite book of mine.

  41. 41
    Izzy March 18, 2007 at 6:43 pm #

    *sigh* Great book and the original cover is so awesome!

  42. 42
    el-e-e March 20, 2007 at 10:13 pm #

    First book that made me cry. :) LOVE.

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