There are times in life when the ordinary results in something extraordinary. It could be a moment, a written word, a picture, anything - as long as the anything becomes a something. For years I read nothing but drab books on academia. I wrote even more drab papers on the subject. It was not until this blog that I actually decided to begin writing again, only this time for myself. As far as reading goes, I chose to catch up on all the books that I had missed that should be listed at B&N or Borders under the heading of "No Analysis Required."
Over the past year and a half I have dove into the lives of countless women - one had a sugar addiction and talked to dead people, another was hunted down by a hunk who walked across the country, and another was green and sewed wings onto monkeys. Where I was easily swept into the lives of these women I was just as easily carried back out and into the next. I was not riveted or blown away by any of them and made connections with none of them. These books were ordinary.
Last summer as I was sitting home with my baby girl I was handed a book entitled "The Help." I looked at it, cute cover, stuck it on a shelf. I looked at it from time to time and on the shelf it remained. While on vacation I happened to see a trailer for the movie based on the book. Looks good, but still the book sat on my shelf. I decide Rob Lowe is my next book of choice (not a female author but who can argue). I forget said book while on an overnight in P-Ville. "The Help" finds its was off the shelf and in my hands. Page 1 is ordinary. Page 2 is ordinary. Somewhere, however, in the pages of that book I find extraordinary.
I am the wife of a man of color and the mother of two bi-racial children. I know that until approximately 1968 miscegenation was illegal throughout a large portion of the United States. My own parents were married in 1968. I find it hypocritical (for lack of a better term at 1 am) to celebrate how much has changed in our nation when people are still denied basic human rights. We should all be ashamed and I cannot help but wonder, at that end of this battle, who will be the next group to be denied basic rights....?
Extraordinary.... I will admit that there are times when it is extremely difficult for me to understand the emotions of the past, as it is not my past, but still it is a past which so pointedly defines my present. The relationships portrayed amongst all of the women in "The Help" are windows for me. I do not know if I have ever felt a connection to so many different bonds weaved within a single novel at one time. The insight was powerful - I cried for them, for the others like them. I cried for the ignorance and the loss. I cried for the fight and the gains. I cried for my daughter and my son. I cried for the what-ifs and the could-be stills.
I cried for me........
I understand the relationships I have with the people in my life a little more clearly now. Babies are born with an innate ability to trust and love. It is amazing how quickly the world takes that ability away. My son told me tonight that he did not love me. He is 4. I told him it was okay and that I understood that he was really mad and that little boys that don't love their mommies just need extra big hugs. I hugged my baby tight to me and he spent the better part of the night trying to apologize, not through words or "I'm sorry," but through tight squeezes and cuddles. When I asked him at the end of the night is he was still upset by what he said he replied, "yes" and with another big squeeze I told him it was okay to forgive. The first relationships we build in our lives are the easiest. It is those that come later that are the hardest.
Extraordinary. You never know where or when or how - but when you do find it - you will know.