Bookmarks

Today we began the process of making room for baby. We try to live a small life. But things accumulate and grow and spill and clutter. And we live in a tiny apartment with just two small closets that are already filled to capacity. The human we bring into this world in January might be little but, already, he takes up space. In my swelling tummy. In our hearts. And let’s face it, he will need a certain amount of square footage in a home in which every available inch is already taken.

So, it’s not enough to rearrange what we have. We have to shift and sort and assess what is truly necessary.

And we have to remove what isn’t.

As it turns out, we have more books than are necessary. I know. I gasped a little at the thought too.

But sorting through shelves and shelves of books, I found some beautiful things. A book my beloved piano teacher had loaned me that I never returned, labelled with her name, in the same beautiful script she used to date the pages of my sheet music. A little red bookmark my grandmother, a voracious reader, gave to me. Books signed by two of the first authors I ever met, writers who changed my life in different but incredible ways (Beth Kephart, Ann M. Martin.) And dozens of bookmarks, left behind, tucked in all the many pages I had read over the years (one ‘bookmark’ was actually a photograph of me as a little girl, a small sample in the photo above.)

I admit, I still kept a lot of books but I, begrudgingly, parted with a great deal too.

These days, it has been difficult for me to grasp the passage of time. How fast life grows inside me, how quickly it can be ripped away. I have questioned how to spend these moments. I have wondered why the words of stories will not come and write themselves, when I so desperately need them, now that I have the hours.

As each day edges towards the one in which this child is born, for the first time, I can not see beyond that sunrise. Years of an overactive imagination, all the desire to be given the gift of a child, have not provided even the smallest possible picture of what that time, after,ย will look like. I know it will fall into place and race forward as this life does. And yet, right now, it’s like staring into still waters, seeing only a murky version of who I am, knowing it will be disturbed, dreaming of the interruption, yet, not having the smallest idea of what it will look like or feel like when the moment comes.

So, we make room. And, yes, I mourned a little bit over the removal of bound pages, the permanence of words. But I did not, could not, part with a stack of old bookmarks, holding my place all these years.

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10 thoughts on “Bookmarks

  1. I love reading your thoughts as you journey towards motherhood. It's such an exciting time filled with deep mystery and wonder as you prepare for your bundle's arrival. You've expressed all that so beautifully.

    As far as purging books… sigh… You have to leave shelf space open for all the baby and children's books you're going to be reading aloud to your precious one, don'tcha know. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I love that Chinese book mark. Is that the one from your grandmother? Another beautiful post, Melissa. I'm so excited for this journey you're beginning. Motherhood will be wonderful and crazy and wonderful again.

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  3. Congratulations, Melissa!!! I'm a bit behind since I've been MIA in the blogworld for a bit. But I'm so excited for you!! My firstborn was in January and that was such a perfect time. And I completely relate to getting rid of books. I did the same this summer in a major overhaul of our stuff. It feels good to be down to the bare bones. I've been frequenting the library to make up for my losses. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It's so good to be reading your beautiful words again.

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  4. I love this post. The process of making room for a world you can't yet see. Since I'm still in the thick of it, with my kids' ages ranging from 7 to 1.5, I can tell you that perhaps it's better to not know. I entered motherhood with a bunch of ideas of how I wanted it to look, how I thought it would and should look… and I was wrong about almost all of it.

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  5. I'm feeling rather sentimental right now, and I don't think that it gets easier the more kids you have. Maybe if you have 10 kids, you stop wondering about the future. But right now I'm listening to this one song over and over again because it has so many meanings for me right now (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5zCaRaJ-kE). My son's sleep leaves something to be desired, and yet it won't be like this for long. His tantrums show me the big feelings he's having and doesn't know how to express, but it won't be like this for long. I'm rather ambivalent towards pregnancy, but I remind myself that it won't be like this for long, and soon the baby will be here and life will be in upheaval again as we try to find out new normal. And the circle will start all over, the frequent nursing, waking up at night, teething, and I will need to remind myself that it won't be this way for long. Someone told me when I was pregnant with Ethan that the days are long (the nights too!) but the years are short. If I could do anything to capture how amazingly awesome it is and has been and will be, I would. So I can only enjoy every day, and in the difficult moments remind myself that this is but a small blip in our journey, and before I know it things will change.

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