Starting to pay off

June 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Last night, Lena let me read Charlotte’s Web to her.

I had forgotten how much I loved this book.

The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell–as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I grew up with this book and I haven’t opened it or even thought about it in years. And last night, taking off the worn jacket and beginning to read it to Lena, I can’t describe the familiarity of the words to my ear, my wonder, piqued again by these small heroines, and noticing that Lena too, is listening quietly. Here is one of those moments, so whole and tangible, when Lena gives me so much more than motherhood. She’s taking me back. I can’t describe what children’s literature means to me. I grew up reading. Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume. Hatchet, The Giver, Cheaper by the Dozen, Walk Two Moons, I could go on and on and on down to Archie comics that I read every morning while eating cereal. I loved to read, and I still do, and Lena is reminding me how enchanted I was by these books. How much I loved and craved stories, the worlds that these authors created. How much I learned from them.

Although, I was saddened to learn that in the most recent versions of Are You There, God, It’s Me Margaret the elusive “belted sanitary napkins” have been changed to “adhesive sanitary pads”. Not the case when I was growing up, and until I got my period I was still quite under the impression that I too would get to have the little pink belt attached to my…well i think the logistics were still a little unclear at the time.

To Lena,
Thanks for keeping me young.
Now go to bed.
Love,
me

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§ One Response to Starting to pay off

  • Hannah says:

    Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Thanks to BOB, this fact is still occupying a spot in my brain which could currently be used for remembering drug toxicities!!!! ;)

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