My life stories · The stories we read

Stretching out and Filling in

You guys, I am no good at transitions. It’s a good thing that I keep experiencing minor ones to practice on. This week the heat has been fierce, tempers short, and the sun harsh. I keep remembering lush summer days in NC where I didn’t feel like I was suffocating, where the earth actually cooled in the pink evenings. But there were gloomy feelings in our dim apartment then, too, the stretch of awkwardness while we tried to reach the nooks and crannies of our temporary home and see how we fit there. It wasn’t until we sat on a tree-dotted hill a few weeks later that I breathed deeply and felt like I’d really come home. It has always been the mountains that have felt like home.

Here there are no cool evenings for sometime and tree-dotted hills are in short supply. I remind myself everyday that we will feel settled, I will make our house feel like our home, and that it’s normal for this to take a while. It will take a while. But the stretch of awkwardness will end too one day, probably when we aren’t looking.

Enter a children’s book we picked up from the library this week. It’s Clyde Watson’s and Wendy Watson’s  Valentine Foxes and it’s one of my kids’s favorites.

One of my favorite things about this book: the illustrations are of messy rooms and the chaos that comes with a horde of small kids. Kind of the stuff the makes me feel claustrophobic! Ironic, no? But the Watsons make it charming. At the end of the day, the floors may be a mess and a favorite blue bowl broken, the toddler might not nap and the kids may  will have meltdowns, but if there’s love, that’s really the best thing to hold on to. Gosh darn it, this is one of my favorite things about children’s books and one of the reasons I write: they remind the ordinary of its own charm.

So we’re no where near the mountains but thank God we aren’t moving again anytime soon. We’re nowhere near the mountains but there are glorious clouds and the sun seems less harsh than when we first arrived. 

This space still feels ill-fitted at times, but I can imagine that one day, when the air cools slightly (in like 20 months:) and we have pictures on the walls, when the windows are open and there’s a fall-scented candle burning in the kitchen, we’ll discover that we’ve stretched out and filled in our home. Chaos and all.


p.s. Did you know the Watsons are sisters? I think it’s so fun that they illustrated and wrote a book together. If you love the illustrations like I do, check out Wendy Watson’s website.



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