Monday, November 14, 2011

Nerd Alert

I recently acquired three bookshelves, bringing the total number of bookshelves in my room to six.  I wasn't 100% sure I had enough books to fill all 3, but, much to my delight, I do.  I can't properly explain how much I love reading. A friend told me once that reading fiction was ridiculous (he prefered non-fiction). I almost died.  I don't know how to tell someone what fiction, poetry, hell, the dictionary, means to me.  Everyone I come into contact with should be on high nerd alert.

I had a birthday about a week ago. In two (very) short years, I will be 30. I am by no means a wise person, I don't learn lessons easily, I make mistakes in spades, and I don't know half of what I hope to one day, but I do know this: At 28 years old, I am a nerd. And I also know that I am absolutely comfortable with that fact.

There is no telling what B will remember about me or his childhood in 23 years (when he is 28). I often think about my childhood and my parents and what I remember about those days. And I don't mean the big memories -- the birthdays, the Christmas mornings, the school programs. I mean the little things. The small details that really matter.  I mean those random memories that creep up when you least expect them. The memories you didn't even know you had.  The memories that are triggered by a smell, or a song, or the way someone pronounces a word.

I remember how excited Taylor and I were when it snowed in Dothan that one year. I remember how my Dad's excitement matched our own (and how funny we all thought it was when Bailey, our dog, peed in the snow). I remember my Mom patiently placing all of my long blonde hair in pink sponge rollers at night and how she would let me then tangle play with her hair. I remember how my Mom and I made fun of the way my Dad said "milk." And how they made fun of the way I said "magenta" (I was eight. How was I supposed to know it wasn't "mag-neta?"). I remember how my Mom settled the WWIII caliber "Who Rides in the Front Seat" argument of 1992 (One of us got odd days, the other even). I remember (and still have) every note of encourgement, love, and even the occasional note of disappointment (I still have those, too). I remember my parent's reaction the day Taylor smashed my pinky finger in the trampoline spring and then again on the day I hit him in the back of the head with a golf club. I remember the way my Mom smelled back then. To this day, a Garth Brooks song reminds me of my Dad. I remember Taylor playing football with himself in the front yard.  I remember a million little details. 

But most of all, I remember reading. I remember huddling under covers and in closets, finding a little space of my own in this big world.  I remember solving mysteries with Nancy Drew. I remember sobbing uncontrollably when Kirsten's best friend died on the ship during their voyage to America. I remember when my friends and I tried to create a Babysitter's Club. I remember when my aunt gave me The Secret Garden and how mad I was that I didn't have a secret garden of my own. I remember when I thought high school would be just like Sweet Valley High. I remember Arthur Cluck and Amelia Bedelia and Sarah, Plain and Tall. And I remember that my Mom loved to read. She and I both read multiple (and by "multiple," I mean at least five) books at a time. We surround ourselves with stacks of books and pencils. In this way, we are identical. In 23 years, my go-to memory of my Mom will still be that she has always loved to read.

I can only hope Beckett remembers the same thing about me.

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