The weather here in Wisconsin has been true to the fall spirit; rainy, drizzly, overcast -- in short, perfect weather for hanging around in book stores.
Yesterday, littlest and I headed out to our local book store to find something funny yet clever, simple yet complex, relevant yet random, to read. We stuck side by side as we ran our fingers along the titled book spines on the shelves, since he's a lot like me, reads with his fingers.
Not finding anything that grabbed us a must have it!, we decided to find some fun writing journals instead. I used to call them diaries, he calls them journals. The aloof must've-been-a-cat once store employee pointed us with one finger to the left side of the store, without even looking up -- also correcting us as to the *diary for her/journals for him* now being called "chronicles."
We were like kids in a candy store with the chronicle cover choices, turquoise, monster faces, tie dye, a Darth Vader patent black.
And way on a top shelf, but not so high up we'd miss them, something I had never seen before. Self help "chronicles." I've bought plenty o' self help books, that's for sure. And I have just as many diary/journal/chronicles hidden away under my bed -- but the combination of both together made it impossible for me to resist pulling a simple flower covered one down.
"Oh, look, Auggie. It's a journal and it's full of ideas on how to be better. It's called A Deed a Day, with pages for you to write about how you did it."
"Better at what. Let me see." My youngest examines the inside and outside and says, "Better at what? It doesn't tell you."
"Better at being alive. Like a better person; kinder and not grumpy. Or maybe learning something new or trying to be brave. You 2.0," I explain while thumbing through the pages.
"Look, like this one," I say and begin reading out loud, "Bake some cookies for a new friend. You don't know them yet, but you will after today." "See," I tell him, "here they tell you to make a friend."
"Yeah, mom, but would you? Would you really? Cookies for a stranger and then take them to them?"
"Probably not. But what about this? Write a letter to someone you want to meet, tell them why you like them."
"I'm not writing letters to strangers telling them I like them, and then ask them to meet me. And I know Dad wouldn't be happy if you did that. You already don't have enough friends as it is."
"You're right. Well, here, listen to this one -- Go for a walk and give yourself a pep talk. Be good and loud and make sure you hear yourself."
"See? Now that's another crazy one. Do they want you to punch the air while you're shouting, too? Give me that, mom, I'll find something. Ha! Found one that you CAN'T do: Don't spend money today. This book is nuts, mom, just look at the last thing they want you to do." He hands the book over.
I read, "Tell a stranger her child is beautiful."
"See, mom? They want you to do all these things to strangers. This book's title is all wrong, A Deed a Day, more like How To Get Yourself Arrested.
Thanks for saving your mom today, little boy. I'm left home all alone with hours before me, and the road to prison was almost paved with a $5.99 paperback of good intentions.
* * *