January 5, 2011

Every Last One

My favorite Christmas gift this year was an eReader from a very handsome gentleman and, as a result, I spent almost an entire day over the holiday break holed up in my boyfriend's Papaw's study crying my eyes out. No we did not have a fight. He picked the eReader because it syncs with our local library and I can check out a bazillion different titles very easily. So, the day after Christmas I grabbed the first three interesting looking books I could get my mouse on (yes, I judge all books by their cover) and started reading.

The first book was just so-so, but the second was a gem. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen gripped me from the start. I'll try not to give too much away because really you should just go read it, but arm yourself with a box of kleenex because you will need it. I didn't know anything about the story when I started. I hadn't read the flaps or back cover (I haven't figured out how to do that on the eReader) and I spent more time downloading and less time researching on the library website, but I'm glad that the story was able to unfold to me from start to finish just as Anna wrote it.

The story about a woman named Mary Beth is heartbreakingly beautiful. Her husband and children and mundane everydayness of life, the things that went unsaid between her and her husband, her understated and sheepish longing for a life more exotic made me wonder. Will my life always be boring compared to another's adventure?  Even in the best of marriages and relationships - will there always be things left unsaid? Dreams left undiscovered?

Then just as I was settling into the narrative of Mary Beth's life, everything changes for her. I won't tell you what happens, I'll just say that I was left heartbroken for her and full of longing for the mundane ordinariness of married life and the complexities of children for me. I sat with tears in my eyes and promised my future self that I won't take the beauty of the everyday for granted but savour every moment for the joy that it will be. I remembered that even now I am living life. This is it. So, to the me that is now and to the me that will be, I hope that I won't leave the important things left unsaid. That I will be bold when I need to be bold and patient when I should wait and be silent. That I will celebrate the beauty that is the everyday life - library books to return and stolen moments reading in coffee shops, grocery shopping to be done and meals shared with my love, hands to hold, desires to speak, carpools and vacations. All of it together. I can't wait.

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