never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
The magnolias and star jasmine are in bloom all over town. The yard smelled like good shampoo this afternoon as the kids and I threw paper airplanes. Keegan, who turned “four and a half” this week (major mile stone for my little man), did not tire of throwing his plane, getting it caught in the tree branches, and then shaking it down.
At a point I left the yard to send an email and meet a deadline that would put me quite close to the completion of my book. I’m rounding the end of this project that has kept me inspired for the last several years, and as I’m pulling together the final pieces, feelings are surmounting. The pressure is on, the excitement building.
I wasn’t at my computer for more than five minutes when Keegan came bounding in looking for me.
“Just a couple minutes, buddy,” I said, as I tried to focus on what I was typing.
“Mom, I’m holding a star,” he said.
“Cool,” I offered.
“Really, Mom. I am!”
I gave up my typing and turned towards the sweet, freckled face looking up at me. “Well, did you pluck the star from the sky?” I asked, playing along.
“No,” he said like that was the silliest thing he’d ever heard, “from a bush.” He opened his little fist and revealed a blossom of star jasmine sparkling white against his rosy skin. “Isn’t it the most perfect star you’ve ever seen?”
Suddenly it was. A smile spread across my face as I reached back and closed my laptop. The email would wait.
After bath time the kids dove into a game of restaurant, so I tried again to pound out the email. Moments into it, Adeline found me sitting in the hallway with my iPad. “What are you doing?” she asked in a thoughtful tone.
“Sending out something important,” I muttered.
“What is it?”
I sighed and smiled up at her. “Well… actually I wrote a book. While you were sleeping. Over the last few years. It’s about done, and when you set a goal, you have to work hard to see that you get there.”
She looked at me, confused. “But you’ve written lots of books.”
Puzzled, I tried to explain, “Well no, not exactly…” But before I could finish a sentence, she was already halfway down the hall. A moment later she returned holding two packets of paper with plastic covers. She held them out to me, and I could see that one was the story I’d written for her when she was two about a ladybug who wanted to grow up too quickly and did everything she could to get more spots. The other was the story I’d written for Adeline about the day she was born.
“Is your new book like one of these?” She asked excitedly.
“A little bit,” I told her with a wry smile.
Maybe I had written more books than I’d realized.
I have been thinking that by late summer I will reach a huge goal. I will have a book. But it seems, according to my six-year old, I’ve already reached the goal; I already have quite a few books to my name. I love how thinking big includes embracing what is small. Just last week Brennan told his friend, “I have a pool in my back yard!” Never mind that it’s three feet around and has to be blown up by Mama. His perception wasn’t, this is small, rather it was, this is fantastic!
I may have set a meaningful goal for myself, but I got a gentle reminder tonight that I cannot discount the little stories I weave along the way. The flimsy book with a plastic cover, treasured to a six year old, is as significant as any book I could write. Like a plane made of paper or a star made of petals, it isn’t the size of the matter, it’s the joy it brings.
Before I tucked the kids into bed tonight, I cuddled them close and read the ladybug story. In the middle of it Adeline announced, “This is my favorite part!” And all I could think was, Yes! The really good stuff in a story isn’t generally the set up, nor is it the neatly designed “the end,” rather it seems it is everything in between.
Reaching my goal is only half the triumph. The kids reminded me today that the other half is how we stop to hold stars along the way, we revel in the joy and discovery of the process.
(Oh, and once the kids were in bed I got the email sent!)