“High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is!”
It’s raining today, and cold, and birthdays are great.
Even this one, which is mostly marked by leaving work to pick a sick boy up from school. Luckily, he’s not that sick. And a more appropriate way to take this life – at least, my life – for what it is doesn’t exist.
A friend sent me that Kingsolver quote on Facebook, and another Facebook friend mentioned he still had some greeting cards I had made as a child. My best-friend-at-the-time (his daughter) and I pressed flowers and stuck the results under clear contact paper and sold the cards at a local general store called Bramhall’s. It was a general store in the old-time sense of the phrase. They sold penny candy (for only a penny!) and ice cream cones and local produce and lobsters. And antiques. And our greeting cards. We were WV Designs and so proud. I don’t remember how long we lasted, or how much we sold the cards for, or why we eventually quit. We were eleven, maybe twelve, so that was probably why. Other things, like horses, awaited us.
I learned a few days ago that the man who owned Bramhalls, Wedge Bramhall, died. I think of cancer. His wife was my preschool teacher and they were both very kind people who later had four kids, who, I imagine, are terrific kids. I remember him studying our one sample greeting card that we presented with shy confidence on a summer day, the oak shade doing not much to dispel the heat rising from our heads after our bike ride from Sarah’s house. This was in the days before helmets and we were wind blown by a hot breeze. “Sure,” he said, nodding. “I’ll stock your cards. Fifty-fifty.”
I don’t actually remember his exact words or the percentage he offered. I do recall his face and his willingness to say yes to awkward middle-schoolers who were desperate to do something that mattered.
I’m not cooking dinner on my birthday. Instead we’re ordering Chinese food and eating in front of an episode of Doctor Who. Boys will fight over who gets to sit next to their mom, and while most nights this annoys the hell out of me, tonight I will find it endearing and I might even get a little teary because yesterday I looked at old photos of my boys as babies and, gack, I miss them even though they’re right here with me. We will eat and I will have a glass of wine and later we’ll pile into the big bed and I’ll tell them the next installment of The Color Children, which is about five children of different colors – indigo, periwinkle, orange, green, and pink – who live together with no grownups in a big house that eats their enemies. It’s a really great house.
The glorious debris – I am surrounded by it, and so, so grateful.