I love to read. Most people who blog probably do, I would think. If I have a spare moment, in the dentist's office, check-out line, someone else's house, whatever, I will pick up and read pretty much anything besides the The Wall Street Journal. Historical fiction of the non-sappy variety appeals to me, particularly historical fiction that is loosely based on actual events. I really like biographies, too. But my absolute favorite author, by whom I will read anything published, is Elizabeth Berg. Anybody else love her?
I will grant you, her stuff actually can border on the sentimental quite often, something which normally turns me off. But with her, the sentiment is so genuine and so identifiable that it is no way a Hallmark moment, but a real-life moment, and so you don't feel so stupid to be tearing up over it. She just really has a way of pointing out the little moments in life that actually are life, if you just pay attention. I would say she is the Catherine Newman of fiction.
Anyways, I was thinking of her (Elizabeth Berg) because the thought crossed my mind tonight that I couldn't actually remember what we did before Addy came along, what we talked and thought about. And this particular passage from one of her books ran through my mind (describing the moment when a father hands a newborn to her mother for the first time):
Then, with a tenderness I would not have thought possible in earth-bound humans, he gives her to me. Her wet head is cupped; her quivering chest is calmed. What have my hands been doing all my life before this? I see now that they too have just been born. I unwrap the blanket, stop breathing. -"Until The Real Thing Comes Along"
And it's like that for me. As much as I might complain about the tedium inherent to motherhood, I literally cannot think what my life would be without my child. I try to imagine, to look around this house and picture it without her, and everything is a blank. I feel my son kicking (still such an unexpected thrill, each time) and can't even remember to four and half months back when there was no life inside me.
Always, when I'm tucking Addy in for the night, even the nights when I've been counting down the hours until bedtime, I am suddenly and strangely reluctant to leave her. It feels like leaving behind a limb or something, even though it's a limb that's been on my last nerve all day. I stand there by the crib, in the pinky glow of the night light, and I have a feeling I cannot name. It is this: "There is no me without you."
P.S. And now for something completely unsentimental: Butt Prints