There are some things that I can write about so freely. The words just come and everything flows out and I don't think or get in the way. I just write.
And then there are some things that sit inside for a really long time. And the words don't seem to ever arrive. Nothing I try to write seems quite right. Not enough.
That's how this blog post feels. I've been writing it in my head since I was five years old. Before there were even blogs. These words have been swimming around inside.
There are little girls who dream about becoming pop stars and princesses, but I only held one true dream: to be a storyteller and have my heart forever encapsulated on the pages of a book.
I cannot even write that without feeling my heart race and swell.
This one true dream.
In books I found peace. Refuge from the chaos of my day to day world.
Then one night last year, as I was skimming my emails (Braedon practicing his cello and Lily suck-sucking on her binky) I saw it:
Blablabla... I'd love to have your work featured in my book... blablabla.
When I tell you that time stood still, that is the worst understatement of all time. Ever. My head began spinning and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my cheeks.
Everything stopped. Just like that, I was going to be IN. A. BOOK.
Of course there would be other photographer's work featured along side of mine, and of course I might only get one tiny thumbnail in the corner of the index page- but in that moment, none of that mattered.
My one true dream.
That little girl, with bandaids on both knees, huffing and puffing her way to the library day after day. A thermos of microwaved canned soup in one hand and her library card in the other. Hours upon hours tucked between the jars of butterfly wings and raw honeycomb in the dusty back corner of the children's section. Every inch of that library, forever etched in her bones.
My one and only dream. To be in one of those books.
And then last week, while on the phone with a friend, the UPS guy knocked. "Package!" he shouted.
It's here. And it's real. And there are our cover images, and our back cover images, and hundreds of our images. And I couldn't even breathe when I held it for the first time. And I can't breathe even now.
Emma Arendoski, you will never know just how grateful I am.
This is a big deal for me. And it's so hard to share.
It's hard to share because when your one true dream comes true you kind of want to keep it protected and locked away in a place where it can never be ruined or spoiled or lost. But that is exactly why those tears came on that night and why they well up heavy in my eyes as I type these words. The magical thing about books is, nobody can ever take them away. Even the ones that have been burned and destroyed always end up on the top shelf of someone's closet tucked away inside a hat box someday.
And my Thomas. Whose name I was sure to credit for every single picture he took so that we would forever be together in the Library of Congress catalog. There is nothing more romantic or incredible or immortal that I can think of.
Maybe someday our grandchildren will tuck away in a dusty library corner.
They will giggle as they point to our names side by side on the page.
"Our Great Grandma and Grandpa took these pictures together!"
And that? That's everything.