If there was one word I would use to describe my family, if I sipped coffee and pondered and thought about it long enough... that word would be Bookish.
First and foremost, we are people of the Book. All that is important, everything which encompasses our being, is found in the Book. We dedicated both our children to the God of the Book (and returned our first born back to His Presence). Knowing God gave us two children to raise and one who is waiting... we raised them by the Book.
Not Dr. Spock but the Book of the Ancient of Days. One of my life verses is found on the sidebar of this blog, one that tells us to "look to the ancient paths". Those very paths and lanes and highways are found in that Book.
Something magical happens when one reads (Narnia magic you know). I am convinced that Story is God's gift to His finite children... the closest we come to the infinite this side of Glory. When we read to our children, we give them the gift of that infinite imagination. They become kings and queens who fight the dragons and conquer that which is evil in their world. They do not think twice when beavers talk or trees walk or bunnies live in a tree with art on the wall and a blankie keeping them warm.
Reading to children as I did, from the crib until they preferred getting away alone and absorbing their latest literary love (sob!), lays a foundation of imagination. For I have found people who read often have the best vocabulary and the most amazing ideas. Their brains have had a good foundation of being stretched beyond all that is in this finite world to beyond the stars.
When we read together as a family, a mutual world is experienced. A vocabulary comes alive. Used as adults and well understood. Sometimes only within the family. Often within the Fellowship of the Book. Otherwise known as... our Bookish friends.
For you see, Bookish people love their equally Bookish friends. We come together from the get-go with a common background of shared literary words, and places we have visited between the pages of a book, and people we have come to cherish from reading their words over and over, and animals we quote, and the wonder of... Story.
I think back on a quite wonderful day when we were visiting New England. That particular visit happened to overlap with a visit from one of my very favorite people, Sarah Clarkson. When asked if I minded that Sarah would be there the first two days of our visit, I think my response was something like, "Are you kidding?".
One morning Stephanie, Sarah, and I set out to the cutest village to take Faith to her weekly dancing lessons. We waited for her nearby at a coffee shop and chatted until my granddaughter was finished with her class. I can't recall which came first... the walk in the park with the Autumnal leaves falling around us or the visit to the dusty used bookstore. The one in which we had to peruse every aisle.
It was the kind of day we Bookish people experience a few times when all came together to create magic... Autumn in New England, coffee, books, and the fellowship of friends. A couple of years later, I opened the book I had been reading during that visit and out fluttered pressed Autumn leaves to the floor. Serendipity! Beauty! Memories. :)
Having a boy in mid-life introduced me to books I never otherwise would have read. Books about pirates and ships and knights and being brave. Stories of French swordsmen and the rather unusual world of graphic novels. Books that stretched my world in a different way than my girlish preferences.
I have told you before about a picture frame that sits on a table in our bedroom. The very frame that was sitting at our place during the meal at Stephanie's wedding. We have it to remember that day and her childhood. For in that frame are the words from the book her father read to her over and over and over (sigh... and yet over again) as a small child.
Goodnight cow jumping over
And the red balloon
And goodnight mittens
And goodnight socks
Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse
And goodnight brush
And goodnight to the old lady
Goodnight noises everywhere.*
Oh, my... did that bring tears to our eyes. At Christopher's wedding reception, he chose the words to a song instead. A song for the dance of the groom and his mother. Those words were from one of my favorite songs, the one by Garth Brooks called The Dance. I had to sit down before the end of the dance... sobbing.
"Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
I could have missed the pain
but I'd have had to miss... the dance."
For how quickly the passage of time had flown by to reach that day. There isn't much time to form the bonds that is a family and those with friends. Life is but a mist, a breath! But I'm thankful God gave us a way. His Book. The books written by His creation. Words. The Word.
*Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown