The Center of Things

I originally started my blog in June of 2016, after only three years of talking about it. One of my first posts was called “Boys, Boys, Boys.” It is a very funny story that unfortunately took place when my father was ill. While I was typing on my laptop, I inadvertently hit something that deleted a good part of my post. I was frustrated and told myself that I would get back to it. Now, if you’re a writer and this has ever happened to you, I know you understand the feeling of not wanting to go back and recreate something you already created.

Well, that was June, the months pasted. (July, August, September) and I never got back to it. My family and friends kept asking me again and again if I was writing. “I know, I’m going to.” I’d reply. (October, November, December) My fiance’ John would encourage me to write…I would say I was going to and then I wouldn’t do it. I think it was certainly the idea of recreating what I had already written, but it was more revisiting a very difficult time in my life when my dad was dying.

One day in January, my mother sent me a book called Write For Life by Sheppard B. Kominars, PhD.

Write for Life: Healing Body, Mind, & Spirit through Journal Writing by [Kominars, Sheppard B.]

As I opened the book and flipped through the pages, I found a paper tucked in the back. I unfolded the paper to reveal the title, “The Center of Things.” I read the article out loud and by the time I got to the end I was crying. The Center of Things was the column that my late Aunt Betty wrote for a New Hampshire newspaper.

I called my mother and asked her if she knew that a copy of one of Aunt Betty’s columns was tucked in the book that she gave me. My mother had no idea, in fact, my mother told me she had two copies of Write for Life. She told my sister that she could take whichever one she wanted and the one that was left was for me.

After I hung up the phone, I couldn’t stop thinking about what my mother said. How could it be that I got the copy of the book with Aunt Betty’s column in it? My Aunt Betty was an amazing person and a wonderful writer. She had a great sense of humor and it certainly came through in her writing. When I was living in North Carolina, we used to talk on the phone and we would email each other things that we each had written. Aunt Betty took such pleasure in reading my stories (and I in hers). She would tell me that I was talented and she encouraged me to write more. I love my Aunt Betty and I miss her so much. What I wouldn’t give to have that time with her back. That night, I fell asleep with thoughts of my Aunt.

I woke up and looked at the clock, 3:33 AM. I was wide awake. I tried to fall back asleep but I couldn’t. Now this may sound a bit out there to some of you, but it is said that the best time to connect with spirit is between 2 and 4 AM. This crossed my mind. Why did I suddenly wake up? I mean, I am not a light sleeper and I enjoy my sleep. If you’re thinking I’m a little off my rocker at this point, let me just go ahead and tip the rocker right over…It also hadn’t gone unnoticed to me that the numbers on the clock were 3:33. It is said that 11:11 and times with repeating numbers are angel signs, I thought.

Feeling like I was over thinking things and maybe feeling a bit crazy and unsettled, I grabbed the book my mother had sent and began to read. As I read Write for Life, I was fascinated with what it had to say about the power of writing and all of the positive affects it can have on a person’s health, well-being and life.

After I completed the first chapter I closed the book and sat in silence. It was so calm, so still and so quiet in the house this time of the morning.

I slowly opened my laptop, hit the power button, logged into my blog site, and began to write. I finished writing Boys, Boys, Boys and I wrote several more posts in the days that followed.

I have always believed that there are no coincidences in life. I also believe that my beloved Aunt Betty is always there cheering me on, encouraging me to write.

And here’s some food for thought…

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. - Albert Einstein

 

Take time to notice and even act on the coincidences that life presents, you may be surprised by the places that they lead you,

Erin Cooper Reed

 

It’s All In The Details

When Kevin was three years old and attending preschool he was a die-hard Toy Story fan. I mean, he watched Toy Story over and over again, owned all of the action figures and talked about it incessantly. Often when the phone rang, I answered it to find yet another salesperson on the line. I would hear Kevin’s tiny voice on the other extension. While Kevin was babbling on about Buzz Lightyear, I would quietly hang up my extension and laugh to myself. After repeatedly asking to speak to an adult, to no avail, the salesperson would abruptly hang up. It didn’t take too many sales calls for Kevin to believe that these calls were for him and for me to realize that I had my own personal call-screener.

Of all the Toy Story characters, Buzz Lightyear was by far Kevin’s favorite…and why wouldn’t he be? I mean, Buzz Lightyear is cool, he is a toy space ranger and he believes that he could do anything that the “real” Buzz Lightyear in the actual movie could do…like fly and shoot lasers. Buzz Lightyear is a leader who is brave and has courage. He believes that following the rules is the way people should live. Most of all, Buzz believes in himself. Not a bad role model.

The morning of Kevin’s fourth birthday he woke to a giant painted, wooden Buzz Lightyear sign on the front lawn, that I had order for the occasion. It read “Happy 4th Birthday Kevin!” We went outside and I took some photos of Kevin standing with the sign, imitating Buzz’s position, both hands on hips. I was elated and proud of myself for renting the sign and making Kevin’s birthday special. (Add good mom props here).

It wasn’t until we went back inside that I realized that Kevin wasn’t so happy.

Me: “So buddy, do you like the sign?

Kevin: “Not really.”

Me: “Not really???  ($$$ Ugh!)

Kevin: “No.”

Me: “Why not? You have Buzz Lightyear on your front lawn?”

Kevin: (looking sad) “It’s just the colors are all wrong.”

Me: “What do you mean wrong?”

Kevin: “Well, first of all, his waist is supposed to black. The buttons on his chest are blue, green, red…

As Kevin went on, I grabbed a toy Buzz Lightyear from a nearby chair and ran to look out at the lawn sign through the front door. I’ll be damned, the kid is right.

So, what did I do? Being that this was my first-born son who was obviously upset on his 4th birthday…I did what any other red-blooded, doting, well-intentioned, frantic mother of an unhappy four-year old on his birthday, would…I called the lawn sign company. Immediately. Then I put Kevin right on the phone.

I stood in amazement (staring at the toy Buzz Lightyear in my hand) while four-year old Kevin perfectly described every detail and every color of Buzz Lightyear’s suit to the lawn sign man on the other end of the phone.

Kevin: “He wants to talk to you, Mommy.”

Lawn Sign Man: (seeming a bit nervous and certainly blown away by his conversation with a four-year old) “Hi ma’am. I don’t even know what to say. We never had a complaint like this before. I think our artist painted that sign using a Disney Burger King bag as a guide. I guess Burger King only prints their kid’s meal bags using a few colors.”

Me: (Speaking as if this is the most unjust thing I had ever experienced) “Well, I just wanted to make you aware that the colors are not right so this doesn’t happen to another child again.)

Lawn Sign Man: “I am so sorry. I’ll take care of it right away and I’ll be sure to check the authenticity of our other signs. By the way, that’s some kid that ya got there.”

Me: “I appreciate it and thank you, I know.”

In retrospect, it’s a funny story now. Especially my own reaction being what it was. If this situation had happened with my third kid, I would have been like, “Just shut up and have a cookie.”

Yet, I think that Kevin was onto something, there’s a lesson in here for all of us. It is all in the details…they matter more than you think. If you stop and pay attention to the details, in your work, your relationships and in your life, it will show in the big picture.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Sanford I. Wiell

Details create the big picture. - Sanford I. Weill

To infinity and beyond,

Erin Cooper Reed