Wednesday, July 31, 2013

on Dumbledore and creating blog books

I was going to make some disclaimer here about spoilers and such, but let's face it, if you haven't read or seen the Harry Potter books or movies, then you aren't going to. And I feel sad for you.

Last night, as I sat down to read "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to Ainsleigh, I opened the book to see that we were on Chapter 27. I quickly looked up and said, "Ok. Get ready. Things are about to get crazy." As if Chapter 26 where Harry and Dumbledore are paddling through, essentially, a lake of dead people, wasn't? Oh Inferi, you're hilarious.

I read on, knowing that this chapter, perhaps more than any other, would not be one we'd be able to only read half of. Oh no. Even though I know I can get emotional over a host of things, I was still surprised to feel the lump in my throat and my chest tightening as I read about Snape appearing in the tower before a defenseless Dumbledore. Perhaps it is because I know the backstory, which my children don't yet, but as I read about Snape and Dumbledore's wordless exchange and the final blow that ended the great Albus Dumbledore, my voice actually caught. The chapter ended. I closed the book.


"Wait. What? He's not really dead, though, is he?" Donovan demanded.
I sighed. That's what I desperately wondered the first time I read it as an adult.

"I'm afraid so," I replied, not wanting to give them false hope.

"But. But. Who's going to be the headmaster?" Ainsleigh asked. "Who's going to help Harry? What's he supposed to do now?!"

I kind of laughed and told them that's why there's another book.

This morning Donovan told me he had a hard time falling asleep because he couldn't stop thinking about Dumbledore and Harry.

I recently finished a monumental task: transferring all Raising Redheads entries to Blurb so I could print a book. Or, rather, 5 books. Over 500 pages, six months and I don't even want to guess how many hours, I have page after page crammed full of stories and pictures proving that being a mom is pretty fantastic most of the time.

But there are definitely a fair amount of pages (or partial pages) devoted to sorrow and frustration and despair. There have been nights I've had a hard time falling asleep, because I couldn't stop thinking about a child's problem, a family member's struggle, our unknown future.

Re-reading those experiences has resurrected feelings. Reliving Joel's sister Melissa's struggles through and final loss to cancer were exhausting. Re-reading my cousin Katie's death of her daughter at birth was really hard. I got lumps in my throat. I cried. There were days I had to walk away and take a break.

And then there were days where I'd regale the kids with the stories I'd read about them that day. It got to the point where at dinner, a kid would ask, "What did you work on today, Mom? Was it funny?" It usually was. Proofreading and laying out each page was painstaking, but it was also really wonderful.

As we go through hard times, we don't get someone to spoil the end for us. Even though my dad has always said, "Everything will work out," sometimes it's hard to believe him, especially when you can't see how it possibly can.

But it does, somehow. Even if Dumbledore isn't there to help Harry.

These books are a testament to how much I love Joel and my kids, how we've gotten through a fair amount (and will continue to do so), and how much I love food. And Harry Potter.

Life always comes back to Harry Potter.


PaloAltoCougar said...

What a tremendously wonderful gift you've created for your kids. How I wish your Grandma O had been able to leave something like that for us. Of course, it would have had too many entries on housecleaning, ice cream and my laziness, but still... Great work.

laura said...

So exciting that you finished! That is so awesome, and makes me want to start blogging again.

PS even READING about you reading that part of HP made me start to tear up. Ugh.

Annie said...

Awesome! Turning my blog into a book is on my to-do list. But I'm so overwhelmed by it all. Good for you!

The Johnson Family of Colorado said...

Beautiful posting and very thought always. You could do this as a professional..oh wait, you do as a professional mom! Keep at it lady! You are awesome and then some. :)