One of the best things about getting so much publicity this week was the glorious parting of the blogworld clouds. You see, I don’t read blogs. It’s sacrilege, I know. But most are so chock full of typos and chalkboard-screetching syntax that I’m pathetically unable to hear the art and beauty of expression through even minor grammatical errors. Or, as Husband would say, “gramarrical errors.” (It’s okay, I already loved him when I found out he couldn’t spell or speak properly so I’ve learned to deal with it.)
And here comes another big fat confession right here, right now: I really don’t read at all any more. It’s really sinful for a writer to say such a thing. I’ve got Karen Kingsbury’s “Between Sundays” on my nightstand, which I love. So far. But it’s been there for four months because I failed to finish it on a flight – an international flight. I tell myself it’s because I read statutes and legal cases all day, so the retinas are exhausted when I get home. But honestly fiction just doesn’t do it for me. I’m drawn instead to ridiculous combinations of self help titles:
Marathoning for Mortals
Your $100,000 Dream Job
Write it Down, Make it Happen
Spanish Phrasebook II
Love and Logic
Simplify Your Life
Yeah, I get the irony of that last one. The best part is that I purchased most of these in the same shopping trip.
I do read all of your comments, though! In fact yesterday as I read and reread the comments you all left (I love compliments), I also perused lots of new blogs. A comment about being in a hospital room led me to visit “transplanted thoughts,” the blog of a mom with multiple kids diagnosed with a genetic disorder. She recently started her blog after baby boy #4 had been in the hospital for two months. I was there in the virtual hospital room with her until 1 am wondering how she was going to do this all again tomorrow.
Humor is obviously my coping mechanism of choice. But the things I write about here are very minimal invasions of my comfort and repose. Even Husband’s absence is just temporary. It’s true that most days Preschooler is dragging me by my wit’s end to the precipice of insanity. But it’s the usual well-defined precipice and there’s a pretty cushy landing down below. Reading about four little boys fighting genetic diseases and the dedication of their brave mom reminded me of something I had forgotten. It shocked me back to The Preschooler’s first six weeks of life, and it made me overjoyed that he even possesses the ability to dangle me from the ledge at all.
Because back then, we were facing a big ugly word: diagnosis. It turned out to be so very minor that we will probably never even tell The Preschooler that he suffers from a latin phrase of relatively meaningless effect (that’s a story for another day). But I can remember how the world swirled around us as if life was actually going on for other people. I remember how wrong it felt to lay awake exhausted while my newborn slept. I remember how we carted our bundle back and forth to the geneticist, only to sit for hours in lobbies with bald kids and their paperfaced mothers. I remember standing with my eyes closed in relief as Husband volunteered to hold the baby down under the X-ray machine this time. I remember sitting in a dark room with only a computer screen flickering for hours on end, using my legal research skills to become a medical expert. I remember waiting to be ushered into a room full of people in white coats to review bone scans. And I remember the day he didn’t move or whimper any more after they pricked him for a little blood.
* * *
A good friend (who actually reads fiction and writes like a Yale-educated scholar) once tweeted a book quote that has always stuck with me … “scars only grow on the living.” And you know what? That’s so right. Otherwise, they’re just fatal wounds, or at very best you’re the living dead. Scars are a pleasant and valuable alternative to death. And I really don’t wanna be a Zombie. That swirling first six weeks created only a tiny scrape on my heart that could have been debilitating. I want to remember it – all of it.
So in case you forget, I just want you to know that I love you Preschooler. I love that you are here. I love that you do the naked dance in the rain on the back porch for dinner guests over my objection. I love that you launch yourself between the two couches, taking the great circle route across the glass table for good measure. I love that you think it’s okay to broadcast the pet names of your private parts, loudly, in public places likely to contain old ladies. And yes, I even love that your curiosity concerning bodily functions often leads you into perilous territory.
Maybe I will read more fiction, after all. Maybe fiction has more value than I give it credit for. And maybe I’ll learn to read past the misplaced semicolons and the punctuation outside the quotation marks (but probably not). Either way, I read on this day, and on this day I was glad for it. And really, this day is all we can hope for.
Don’t be a Zombie, friends. That scar you’ve got proves something: you lived. Wear it well.