Chapter one: The Boy Who Lived…

In the late 90’s, I was nearing the end of my secondary education.  I had precisely 3 interests: Boys, dance, and a social life…with boys.  Reading was definitely not on my to-do list.  So it wasn’t even on my radar that suddenly every person of every age in every country became enamored with a book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I don’t recall even being aware that this was a book until 2001 during my first year of college.  This was the year that this first book in the series became a movie.  A good [21 year old] friend of mine, Traci, was obsessed with this series.  We were in the dance company together, and at the end of the year we had an assignment called musical mapping.  The assignment required us to choose a song, “map” the dynamics of the song out using the medium of our choosing (pipe cleaner, macaroni noodles, string, etc…you know, college student stuff), and choreograph a dance to go along with our 3-dimensional music map.  We then presented the entire project to our class.  Traci chose the Harry Potter movie’s theme song, which at the time was unrecognizable.  She incorporated a magic wand into her choreography with which she led us through her map.  If that wasn’t enough to get me to read this book, I don’t know what is.

Over the years I received a lot of criticism for having never read this series.  About 7 years ago, I rode along with Aaron when he went to dig a grave (yes, this actually happened).  I had some time to kill while I sat in the car, and the Sorcerer’s Stone happened to be sitting on the bench seat next to me.  Aaron really loved the series and has read/listened to each book at least twice.  I picked it up, thrilled that I was finally about to jump on the HP band wagon.  I got to about the part where (spoiler alert, if you haven’t read it) Harry makes the glass disappear at the zoo and releases the snake.  That was where the wagon stopped for me.

Since that time I’ve been the epitome of a crazed YA fantasy fiction fan over all the big-time supernatural, dystopian, sci-fi, love-triangle type books and their movie adaptations (you should see my “I’d rather be in Forks” t-shirt).  All except Harry Potter.

Last fall, Jade started kindergarten.  I’ve been reading to Jade almost every night since she could sit up on her own, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me that she picked up the ability to read very quickly.  In October at her last birthday, she was given her first set of chapter books about fairies.  We devoured them and went back for more when the school book fair came along.  Suddenly books didn’t need pictures to be interesting.  This was my cue.

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“Jade how about we read Harry Potter together?  I’ve never read it before.”  I fully expected her answer to be, “You haven’t read Harry Potter???  Even I’ve read Harry Potter mom!”  But instead she answered yes, and our journey began.

Last night, we finished the first book.  I almost cried!  Literally.  And for more reasons than one.  I just finished a very long book with my first child and she sat still and listened and comprehended just about every word!  But I was also sad to close the book after that last page.  What incredible writing, and what a fun story!  We do own all 8 movies, but to be honest I don’t think I’ve sat through most of them and the ones I did I either fell asleep or didn’t have a clue what was happening.

But the best part about the whole thing is that I’m experiencing these books for the first time with my daughter.  How many parents of my generation get to say that?  I kept thinking what if I’d given in and read the series a long time ago?  I get to do this 6 more times!

Do you have any movies or books you wish you could experience again for the first time?  And its sad because you never will be able to!  You’ll keep re-watching Titanic hoping it will be as good as that first time, but it never will be.  Okay maybe that’s just me.

Chamber of Secrets here we come!

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The If-Then Condition

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I’m rarely satisfied with things as they are.  I know I’m not alone in this.  A variety of these “if-then” clauses are going through my head at any given time, many of them contradictory.

If only I had straight teeth…

If only I cared less what people think of me…

If only I had some new clothes…

If only I were a professional dancer…

If only I lived in a warmer place…

If only my kids were older…

If only I had another daughter…

If only I weren’t so tired…

If only I could have a drink once in a while…

The problem is, I’m not sure what the “then” part would be.  Then life would be easier?  Then people would love me more?  Then I would be happy?

I’m thinking about the book “The Giving Tree” right now.

“I am too busy to climb trees.  I want a house to keep me warm.  I want a [husband] and children, and so I need a house.”

“I am too old and sad to play.  I want a boat that will take me away from here.”

I am too old to swing on branches.  I am too tired to climb.  I don’t need very much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.  I am very tired”

If only I were married…If only I had a boat…If only I could just rest…

Today a lady at church talked about being happy in your current circumstances.  This was just minutes after my daughter jumped up very violently directly underneath me almost breaking my nose.  But the lady was old and she knows what she’s talking about.  So I listened.  She reminded me of what should be obvious but is still the hardest thing I think I will ever try to accomplish in this life.

If you wait until all the “If only”s have been satisfied, you will never be happy.

But…but…but I NEED to get my teeth fixed or I CAN’T be happy.  I NEED to live in a warmer place.  Cold weather makes me depressed.  There are so many things I want to do and I can’t do them until my kids are grown!  Yes, this is my attitude.  Today its “If when I go to the doctor tomorrow he can give me some direction on how to get my energy back, THEN I can be a good mother.  THEN I can be nice to my husband.  THEN I’ll be able to do DO IT ALL and not have to wait til my kids are grown.”

I think I need to refer back to this post.

I think I need to take a lesson from the tree.

“Come…sit down…sit down and rest”.

All we really need in life is a good stump.

 

 

Girl By Herself

ImageI LOVE this book.  It was one of my favorites as a little kid and in fact this is the original copy, as you can see by the label, which reads “Barnes & Noble $3.36”.  When was the last time you saw a price like that?  I’ve read this book to my daughter since she was born and I still read it to my 3 older kids.

I’m going to read it to you now.

There are times when a bear has to be alone with himself, to think his own thoughts and sing his own songs.  He must pause and enjoy: listening to the quiet, smelling the rain, or talking to a river.  He likes to watch the wind in the high trees, sail his kite–alone and free–or do nothing at all!  He lies in the thick grass with the sun hot on his fur and remembers: misty dim mornings and cool winter breezes, warm little rooms where the fire pleases.  He has a secret place where no one can find him and worlds to explore in his own backyard.  He loves window-shopping on late afternoons and the lamplighter lighting the night.  As the evening deepens to darkness, there is his own friendly house to come home to with his books and his toys and his own soft bed.  He feels the dark and sleeps–and dreams.

I’d like to be a lot like this bear, except less furry and more girly.  I’ve put all of these things on my bucket list.  Life really should be just that simple.