It is still dark when we hear these words, a simple line that drifts from the past and cements the bond of mother and daughter of reader and writer, words that will change a life. My day started ridiculously early as my overfilled brain denies me much needed sleep and peppers my consciousness with the things I have forgotten to do. I finally give up and head downstairs and into a day’s checklist which is impossible to complete. I hit Audible and start baking as this evening’s events will include a party and I have promised gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Teach Like your Hair in on Fire, Rafe Esquith’s amazing mantra of what good teaching can produce in the life of a child blares from my iPhone. I whip organic coconut sugar and brown rice flour into a bowl as he tells of taking the children in his classroom on trips across the country, teaching them to play classical guitar music, and starting school at 6:30 AM to work on problem solving. I am humbled by his achievement as I unload the dishwasher and brought to tears as I sweep the floor. I begin my own classroom newsletter, inspired to remind the parents and children of Room 4 that we are going somewhere special. I write furiously of my plans for change working past the banging of the porch door as Mike heads out to the garage for our morning workout. By the time I shut down my computer and race out to join him, I have already missed the warm-up. I grunt as we lift weights and pull up on the bar, straining and groaning against the unfamiliar routines of our new workout program. Still we are together as our commitment in the dark drives us. By the end, I feel the renewal of my endorphin payoff and our strengthened connection.
I rush back into the house, shower, grab Eden and hurry her through the morning routines. Finally we are packed into the car with the familiar school day items. Her seat organizer overflowing with markers, paper, small toys, books, she knows we should practice the spelling list one more time. Still we are close to the close of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s story Little House in the Big Woods. Before Eden was born I painted her room pink and placed the box set in her room. She is in many ways like the Laura, in the story being six years old with a smile full of missing teeth. I am so grateful to return to the big woods with her and learn about the struggles and joy of making butter and maple syrup. My endless task list pales in comparison to Ma Ingall’s work to fill the table with hulled corn and milk for supper. Eden and I are silent as we listen in to the final chapter, The Deer in the Woods. Pa has returned from hunting unable to kill any of the game he sees because, as he explains to his small children, they are so beautifully a part of this world. The children fall asleep to the flickering image of Ma mending in her rocking chair and Pa with his fiddle. As Laura slips away she promises she will carry this image forever, “because now is now and it can never be forgotten.” I stop the disk and look back into the shining eyes of my own pioneer. And although she and I make copies instead of butter…I know she gets it.
“Eden, I will never forget going to work together. I will never forget reading you the spelling words, or telling you stories on the way home. I will never forget the dark rides in and the long rides home, because now is now and it can never be forgotten.”
She looks up and says it back to me, “because now is now and it can never be forgotten. Mom write it like Laura.”
And all through the long day I say it to myself, “because now is now and it can never be forgotten.”
I say it during our F.L.I. G.HT. morning meeting as I share how much I love books and why they inspire me to write.
I say it during the good parts of my day when we are reading on the carpet together. I say it when the day is challenging. Some of my munchkins are sleepy and their behavior flares up. They require endless amounts of patience and understanding. By the time I make it to recess I am exhausted from both the day and their bottomless pit of need. There will be time against the wall, and as I slump down to sit beside them Eden rushes up to me, her class also at recess. She sees that I am sitting on the wall and she knows my day has been rough. She hugs with with all of her heart and whispers, “because now is now and it can never be forgotten.” Her presence fills my bucket just enough.
I find once again my offers of love, forgiveness, and hope heal wounds and by the end of the day there are apologies and hugs. Eden and I race from school, pushing now towards the sweetness of home and friends. And all that night as we trunk or treat from the back of our car strung with glowing ghost lights and heaps of candy, as we dance under the moon with friends, as we keep the party going with a trip to another friend’s house for an after-glow event we smile and laugh. And I remember to drink in my life…knowing that I will write this day down because once there are words “now is now and it can never be forgotten.”