Thursday, May 5, 2011

B-B-B Bee!

On our way to school yesterday, I gave Elliot a book to look at in the car. He sat in the back seat pointing to pictures and naming them, then, looked thoughtfully at the book.

"B - B - B - Book." he said. Then "B - B - B - Bee!"

This is the first time he's actually figured out a letter phonetically, so I was pretty excited. "Yes!" I said. "Book starts with 'b'. B - O - O - K. Book."

He looked at me skeptically. "No. That's not enough 'o's." he said, very seriously.

"Oh. Should it be B - O - O - O - O - O - O - O - O - K?" I asked.

He grinned as I said "Booooooooook?"

"Yeah." he said. "That's right."

We are not who we were...

Tonight I went to see Matt Logelin at his book signing. I've been following his blog since shortly after Karl died, and have always admired his strength and generosity.

I have to say, my less than positive experiences (which I'm certain now are oversight, not ill intent) with the shawl are behind me, and I'm sold.

Matt dresses his daughter beautifully. No, she wasn't there tonight, but I point it out only to say that perhaps, one day, she will return the favor. That or not let him drop her off within 10 blocks of school... Karl would have loved Matt's thrift store fashion sensibility, and it is clearly a point of pride for the 'wouldn't be' author.

He read the forward, then one of my favorite chapters from the book - in which he explains why he dresses Maddy the way he does. As I listened and watched, I wondered about who he was before. During the talk, and afterwards at the 'groupie' dinner I invited myself along to, I felt a definite affinity - here was someone reshaped at the same forge, by the same hammers, that I had been stricken by. I don't know if the transition from who I was to who I am was instant or is still ongoing, but I sensed in Matt a man transformed as well.

Matt seems to have a stability, buoyancy, confidence, and flexibility that weren't necessarily born in him, but instead hammered in, and I like to think the same characteristics might be seen in myself. Before I lost Karl, I was not the person I am now, and neither, I imagine, was Matt before Liz.

It must be the cruelest kind of self improvement ever.

Under this kind of pressure, I think, one can break or stand taller. It is impossible to face such loss without changing. The audience that came to see Matt speak had clearly experienced their share of grief, and I felt lucky to be part of their lives, if only in passing. People shared selflessly and hopefully their own stories of loss, and love, with no agenda except lifting those around them.

Here's to the irons who straighten their backs, and keep holding up the world...