A Small World

In general, I think of the Internet as a very scary space. There is so much alarming commentary, so many pot stirrers and such a huge amount of Weird, that I choose to just always read the same blogs and visit the same websites in order to avoid any online dark corners. I mean, have you ever actually read the comments on a YouTube video or a People.com article or anything ever written in the entire history of Huffington Post? Internet commenters can be… full of conviction. And, questionable grammatical choices. Also, when did everyone get so crazy?

To write honestly on this site about my life, my marriage and my children, I have to visualize that none of those scary Internet people are reading. In fact, I like to pretend that there are only about five people in total that ever read anything I post. Since two of those five are guaranteed to be my mother and my father, mentally, I can trudge on. I convince myself that only those I know visit here. I like to think of it as writing with blinders on.

Imagine my surprise then, when I discovered someone else was reading and she was neither crazy nor related to me.

Back in November, I wrote about discovering a charming set of children’s books by Sara O’Leary entitled, “The Henry Books.” Much to my delight, a couple of days after posting about my unexpectedly emotional find of Where I Came From and When I Was Small in my local Target, the author of the books, Sara, read what I had published and commented on the post. She was kind towards my review of her books and through the sharing of contact information on Twitter, a few weeks later, this showed up in our mailbox.

Pretty much the nicest thing the Internet has ever done for me.

Pretty much the nicest thing the Internet has ever done for me.

Sara had sent the kids a lovely signed postcard.

Henry was excited when I showed the note to him but also exhibited disbelief that an actual author of an actual book he was holding in his actual hands had mailed us her actual autograph. In fact, for a brief moment, he accused ME of writing the postcard which was both hilarious and proves he doesn’t realize how lazy I actually am. Charlie and Millie are too young to really appreciate it but I know someday, when Millie picks up one of The Henry Books to read to herself, she will discover this note and smile just as wide as I did.

This just goes to prove that:

a.) there is actually a lot of nice out there on the Internet and

b.) make sure what you put out there is just as nice.

Because, people are reading.

Heart, Meet Sleeve

There is an episode of Ellen where Kristin Bell is the guest and she’s talking about her emotional scale. How she cries when she’s at the top of the scale (super happy) and at the bottom of the scale (too sad) and how she’s just barely holding on in between. You can watch it here:

I remember seeing the clip and realizing, besides how ridiculously funny it is, how her description of her emotions so closely resembles my own.

I share a penchant for shedding tears when any emotion in any direction goes too far off the scale. I cry when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am frustrated, when I am angry, when I am proud, when I am surprised, when I am excited, this could go on and on. I come from a long line of criers. It is built into my genetic code. I do not know how to be any other way. And, while I don’t walk around sobbing into a Kleenex or anything, my emotions are always close to the surface.

For example, here is a short list of things I have cried about this week:

  1. The ending to Waiting for “Superman” because of the hopelessness of our current educational system.
  2. A YouTube montage of dogs being reunited with their service members/owners returning from duty.
  3. Henry’s teacher repeatedly telling me what a great kid he is at our parent-teacher conference. (Humblebrag of truth.)
  4. This video which just proves how awesome the human race in general can be sometimes.

And, on Sunday, I cried in the middle of the Target book aisle when I discovered these:

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My emotional scale never stood a chance.

The cover illustrations caught my eye when I was on my way to pick up something else and I had to double-back to get a closer look. (I’m also a sucker for a non-jacketed cloth-bound book. Am weird, I know.) Turns out, both books are by Sara O’Leary and are from her series called, appropriately enough, The Henry Books.

Where I Came From is filled with fantastical explanations offered up by Henry’s parents about how he came to be. Was he found at the supermarket? Did he arrive in the mailbox? Was he grown on a flower? It’s all beautifully done with whimsical and charming illustrations and contains what every good children’s book should have if it wants to appeal to parents, an emotional kick in the gut at the end:

"First there were two of us and then we were three." And, tears in three, two, one...

“First there were two of us and then we were three.” And, tears in three, two, one…

When I Was Small tells the story of Henry’s mother when she was a child. There are more imaginative adventures, wonderful observations, adorable little girls with adorable haircuts and another ending that packs a punch.

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After reading both books through, I clutched them to my chest, wiped the moisture from my eyes, discounted the weird glance from the Target entertainment section employee and marched directly to the checkout. I think they are lovely and creative and after almost eight years of reading truck and Lego-themed tomes lying around our house, I fear I may have become a bit irrational. But, I adore them anyway and I was going to give them to the kids for Christmas but now I’m not so sure because kids just ruin everything nice and I don’t want their little grubby hands to under-appreciate such special work.

It should come as no surprise that Bob pretty much thought I was completely and totally insane when I arrived home and made him sit down to read each book while I carefully gauged his emotional scale. And, since he didn’t even well up once, the only logical conclusion is that his heart is made of stone.

Now, if it hasn’t become apparent prior, I pretty much only leave the house to go to Target. So, perhaps you already know of these wonderful books? If not, here’s a link to the artist’s page on Amazon.