Remember When…

Toys were scattered across the living room. A rubber duck with sunglasses was beak down attempting to dive under the carpeted sea. Another duck was spotted on the cover of a plastic ABC book which squeaked. And close by, another book sat loudly with bold colors yet, withheld its boisterous songs.

Under the coffee table, a lonely orange race car with a checkered top crashed over on its side.

A small orange basketball lost its bounce. And other oddly textured balls, brown and blue, lied motionless.

There’s another odd toy, shaped like peanuts in a shell, with a face that traveled alone and wound up upside-down.

Pink sequined slippers were separated in an abandoned stride. And an iPad was plugged into the wall hidden behind a woven toy basket.

 

There was an abundance of evidence – children lived here.

Who knew what lied down the hallway, in bathrooms, bedrooms or closets.

The treasures collected along the way said, Remember me. Remember me when…  

 

 

I followed Abe’s cry and found him on his knees with his butt sticking out of the bottom of the bookshelf. The top half of his body was shoved inside.

I laughed, surprised at his predicament, and watched as he tried to free himself by repeatedly lifting up and hitting his head on the shelf above him. Little did he know, all he needed to do was back-up like a mini dump truck – beep, beep, beep.

When I pulled him out, we laughed, and Abe smiled without a trace of tears.

 

 

The grin spread across Abe’s face revealed two baby chicklet teeth. He panted and snorted as he crawled toward me like a pig headed to the trough.

I am his trough, I thought. I am his source of nourishment, a provider of food, shelter and warmth.  

When Abe crawled toward me, he crawled home.

This Moment.

There are a lot of things I “should” be doing, like sewing up pillows, folding laundry, grocery shopping or catching up on sleep. 

But I choose this – this moment.

My baby asleep in my arms. I bathe in his scent. I hear only his breath and my thoughts. 

And here I discover…

Creation brews in stillness.

An Anxious Trip to the Bookstore.

If I bounced and paced my baby across the living room one more time – I was going to lose my mind.

I’d been shut in the house for too long. Away from the outside world yet, inviting so much of the noise inside my head. The only relief was fresh air and fresh faces. With baby in tow, I headed to Barnes and Noble.

On the way there, I trailed behind a car with a succession of 1’s on the license plate. I saw the 1’s as a sign I was headed in the right direction.

After returning some merchandise and receiving store credit, I went straight to the reference section in search of books on writing. As I stood there bouncing baby Abe in the carrier strapped across my waist and shoulders, my heart raced. I was anxious with indecision: Which book should I get? Should I buy one at all? I do have store credit. But I’m trying to be minimalist! I don’t need another book. If I do buy a book, I better make sure it’s worth owning…

The first book that caught my eye was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. It was on my list of books to read. I flipped through it and realized it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted something more instructive. So, I picked up The Art of X-Ray Reading by Roy Peter Clark. I could work on my reading skills, I thought. I read a few pages and considered it a possibility. But, I really wanted something on structuring and plotting a story.

I grabbed Plot Perfect by Paula Munier and skimmed through it. This had more of what I wanted, a step-by-step process with examples and exercises.

With Plot Perfect in my hands, and Abe asleep in the carrier, I stood there dumbfounded with reservation.

By that time, more people had invaded my space. A man searched the shelves beside me. I shuffled to the left and noticed another person ruffling through the discounted bins nearby. Had they noticed me? Were they witnessing my struggle over choosing the perfect book?

My face was on fire. I wore a sweatshirt underneath a 20 pound baby in a sweat suit fastened to my chest. I wanted to run out of there but I still hadn’t decided on a book!

I looked to the bookshelves one more time and spotted a tiny green dragonfly on the bind of The Art and Craft of Storytelling by Nancy Lamb. I picked up the book. I thought, maybe this is the book for me. But, am I just picking it because it has a dragonfly on it? Or was it the best choice?

I decided to take the dragonfly as another sign and fly out of there.

 

*I am currently reading The Art and Craft of Storytelling, underlining sentences, writing in the margins and taking notes. It turned out to be the best choice after all.