Friday, June 12, 2009

It Make The Heart Hurt As Well As Grow Fonder....

Nick is up in Quebec City right now as the principal and also a chaperone on the Grade 8 field trip. They left early Thursday morning and though we’ve managed to touch base a few times by phone, it certainly isn’t the same as seeing each other on a daily basis.

These days, spending time apart for couples is becoming common again as one spouse may seek work out West or serve overseas. I am certainly not the only one to find the empty side of the bed disconcerting, but tonight I am feeling it deeper than I usually do.

I took the girls to see the movie UP this afternoon right after school. What an awesome, wonderful and poignant film. The only drawback was that I blubbered like a big softy at least twice in the movie. The opening scenes set up the premise so well and so passionately, that I doubt there was an adult (or savvy child) in the audience with a dry eye. The scene that got to me the most was the one later in the movie with the scrapbook. ( No, I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet!) In the darkened theater, I suddenly realized that if I was missing Nick this much on a 4 day trip after almost 20 years of being married, what on earth would I do if he were to die before me after we’ve been together for another 20 or 30 years?

Being a total glutton for punishment, I picked up some pizza for the girls and we had a picnic in front of the TV for supper while I drank a few litres of water to wash the salty popcorn taste from my mouth. We put in the first DVD of Season 4 from Little House on the Prairie... and it happens to be the episode where the beloved dog, Jack, dies!! Luckily, Nick bought several boxes of tissue when they were on sale last week!

Now that the girls have gone to bed and the heavy rains have eased up, the only sound in the house is the tapping of my keyboard as I make this entry, avoiding going up to the half empty bed until I am so tired that I will sleep despite the absence of any weight or snoring noises on the other side of the bed. It is good to have time away from those who are closest to you now and then, because it makes you understand how easy it is to take people or stuff for granted.

The thing is, we cannot go through our lives without feeling things and taking chances. Any writer or illustrator who is going to REALLY speak to children wrestles with this. If there is no conflict and challenge for a character, then there is no growth. Truly great stories, legends and movies teach us about rising up in the face of adversity, about not losing hope in the face of insurmountable odds, about loving with our whole hearts even if it means that they might get broken, about standing up for what is right instead of just doing what is safe and won’t make waves.... and so much more.

That's what draws me to children's literature more than anything. Children may be growing up faster than I did in my day, but there is still room to believe...

When we see someone being heroic, we remember that it is possible for all of us to be more than we are, braver than we think and more tenacious in our hope.