Your elevator pitch—tell me, she said. What’s your book about in a 3-4 sentence summation? I didn’t have an answer at the time, but this is what I’ve come up with so far:

Mine is a story of being the second of seven, each born within 9-years, and raised by an impervious single-mom. (That three-tent circus alone might be “worth the price of admission,” as my dear friend Nan would say.) I’ll also revisit the impact of my father’s compulsions, which resulted in unprecedented consequences by way of his genius, albeit deviant, manipulation. And I’ll explore faith vs. folly as they pertain to my mother’s independence, which was often at odds with her installation of the LDS church as patriarch by proxy of our home.

So this blog may be a forum for wordsmithing—pounding out, if you will—some of the memories that are trying to make their way into my book. On top of that, I might stomp in the puddles of parenting, wrestle in the reeds of politics, or sit on the dock musing over the inner-workings of the universe. Whatever I’m writing, this blog is my pond to play in, and you’re welcome to swing by for a friendly splash.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Table Talk

I had dinner with my youngest daughter today. At the kitchen table. Grilled cheese and tomato soup—the nasty kind from a Campbell’s Soup can. It’s something we don’t do often—sitting at a table, that is. (Sadly, the grilled cheese and Campbell’s Soup are a staple.) I was grateful to have taken a few minutes to sit down, because it reminded me yet again how full she is of quirks and curiosities in the most pleasantly peculiar way.

At the age of two, she put puzzles together “brown-side” up and sorted Legos by color and size. She would line them up, end-to-end. It was a serious process for her. When she was tired, she would sit near her crib, blanket in hand, and quietly wait for someone to notice. She’s a brilliant kid. And not the least bit socially awkward. (At least not from my perspective.) And then she shared this:

So, a strange thing happened in my psychology class today. I didn’t know it was a thing. That this thing I’ve done all my life was weird. It has a name.
I laughed. What? I asked. What do you do that’s so weird?
I eat paper.
Seriously? Hmmm. Just the frayed edges of spiral-bound? Or, all paper?
No. Corners mostly. And Dum-Dum lollypop sticks. They’re the best. It’s a texture thing. It feels good in my mouth. And I’ve always done it. I just didn’t know it was weird.
Mmmhmm. It’s called Pica. It’s an eating disorder. People who have it eat things with no nutritional content. My psych teacher told me there are two teachers at school who have it too. One eats chalk. My Spanish teacher. I’ve seen her do it. The other one eats sucker sticks—the paper kind. And while he was talking about it, everyone was like, “Ewww! What? Really?” And the more we talked about it, I realized they didn’t think that was a normal thing.
My mother does it. I grinned. The frayed edges of spiral paper, napkins, and sucker sticks. I’ve seen her do it for years.
I wonder if it’s hereditary—Pica. And since we talked about it, I’ve been craving it all day. The texture.
So I looked it up. And while I didn’t find out if it was hereditary, I did learn Pica is a Latin word and it means Magpie. And I laughed again at the irony of names and how fitting they are at times. Her middle name is Margaret and we called my daughter Maggie Moo for years.
She graduates this year, and I’m hungry for a few more nights with her at the table.
*No children were harmed in the publishing of this post. Explicit permission was provided by Maggie Moo herself.