Thursday, July 10, 2014

Turning Pages

Photo: Olivia Brant

There were three boxes.  Two were full of books for dummies, old college books and computer certification books.  He told me to look through the third box - there might be something I wanted to rescue before it was carried off to the second-hand bookstore.

Books are reminders of different stages of life for me. Good memories.  Some are hard to let go of.   It took me years to cull through the shelves of books in my children's rooms.  I had to let them go a little bit at a time.  My niece and nephew inherited most of them, but I still have a cupboard full of Little Critter and Golden Books.  There are some I couldn't bear to part with, like The Red Balloon and the treasure I found at a thrift store - Little Hiawatha.  It was my favorite Disney book when I was a little girl. Between the pages of I'll Love You Forever, Good Night Moon and stories about a nut brown hare and a naughty bunny, are memories of butterfly kisses and snuggling under covers; trying to stay awake as we read the millionth and last book for the night.

It was just as difficult to get rid of all of the lesson books from my preschool teaching days.  It was the one thing I felt I was good at, and the books represented a time of confidence in my work.  Creating lesson plans and planning activities for adorable 3 and 4-year-olds fed my creative side.  I still feel like whoever ended up with my books will never know the investment and value those books hold.  I hate to think that they are just second-hand resources to somebody.

The third box smelt of dust.  I reached in and almost pulled out the Calvin and Hobbes Collection and a Far Side comic book.  We used to love those when we were first married.  Somebody else will enjoy them.  I pulled out the blue leather Bible I had bought for Scotty.  Tears fill my eyes as I read the inside, "To Scott with all my love, 1998".  The year our girl was born.  I flipped through the gold-edged pages and smiled at the notes written along the margins and the verses that had been underlined.  I couldn't let it go.  It made me sad to see the set of red Matthew Henry Commentaries leaning against one another.  I remember Scotty's excitement when he received them.  I can't remember now if it was for Christmas or his birthday.  No matter.  They've been boxed up for years, unused.  I guess it's just the finality of it.  He doesn't need them anymore.  I pulled off a yellow sticky note with Scotty's handwriting on it from the inside cover.  It's time to turn the page.  That season of our lives is over.  The tears were over that, rather than the books themselves.  After setting aside a Thesaurus and a chronological Bible, I closed the box lid, wiped my eyes and blew my nose.  Stupid dust.

Photo: Olivia Brant
Photo: Olivia Brant

I'm making new memories with the books I'm reading in this season of my life.  The Divergent series (Veronica Roth) will always be a reminder of nights reading aloud before bed with Scotty; sometimes dozing off to the sound of his voice.  It is the first time we've read anything together since we were dating.  It's been great.  The One Thousand Gifts Devotional (Ann Voskamp) will always remind me of friendship and good morning texts with a dear friend as we share the parts we have highlighted for the day.

Photo: Olivia Brant
Photo: Olivia Brant

There is something about turning the crisp pages of a good book.  I am not ashamed of folding the corners over.  Many of my books are highlighted, underlined and have notes written in them.  I hope one day my children will read the same books and learn a little bit about me through my scribbled notes.  The books I hang on to are well loved and have been read more than once.  The Kindle app on my phone is filled with great books - and I love it, I do - but give me a book to hold, a pen and a cup of something and I'll show you a perfect day.

Photo: Olivia Brant
Photo: Olivia Brant
 Here are a few I've read recently:

Chasing God by Angie Smith
Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

I am currently reading:

Graceful by Emily Freeman (with my daughter)
Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming 
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

What books are you attached to?  What kind of memories do they hold for you?  I'd love to hear what you are reading right now. And if it's been a while since you've indulged in a good novel or an encouraging book, may I invite you to curl up with one?  There are memories to be made.