This year, my daughter decided to try something new – cross country. In fact, it was new for all of us. I have never participated in the sport, nor have I ever been to a meet. I was a little disappointed heading in because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to support and cheer my girl on when I would only get glimpses of her for mere seconds throughout the race.
As my husband and I hesitantly tried to get a feel for the way spectators are supposed to watch this sport, I started to get nervous in a way I’ve never felt for either of my kids before. I was instantly transported back to gym class when you had to run the mile. I remember how long that seemed and how terrible I felt when I finished – my legs were jelly, my lungs were on fire, and my throat burned. Here was my girl voluntarily signing up to feel this way, and quite frankly, I didn’t know how to handle it!
She finished that race and subsequent ones, slowly getting the feel for the sport. She also caught me by surprise along the way. The grit and determination in her eyes was inspiring to me. I came to appreciate a sport I literally knew nothing about and had shrugged off my entire life. What I learned is that every sport has their thing – the thing that makes it difficult, that challenges you, that grips you and won’t let you go. Cross country gripped my girl tight and now refuses to let her go.
It was a great season and I was so proud of my daughter. But mostly, I’m so grateful that she introduced me to a new experience that changed me in ways I would never have expected. Cross country is a sport that gives me hope. Even though these kids are competing against each other, they encourage and congratulate one another on a race well run. Cross country seems to have some of the nicest participants, and I can’t explain what it did to me – as a parent and as an onlooker – to see that kind of kindness demonstrated by kids to kids. Glennon Doyle summed it up better than I ever could have here.
Anyway, what about books, right?!?! Here’s a summary of my week in books…what have you been reading (and loving) this week?
Last Week’s Reads:
After the End by: Clare Mackintosh (Putnam) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019
This book totally gave me of a Jodi Picoult vibe – which is good and bad. I love how the style makes me think with their controversial subject matters, but I’m tired of their formulaic storytelling. I enjoyed the first half despite those complaints, but I hated the second half – a “Sliding Doors” concept that split the story into two separate paths. While it was an interesting approach, it wasn’t executed well and I found it a bit confusing. This book didn’t have a happy ending (in my opinion), and while I don’t always have an issue with that, I didn’t like it in regards to this book. Overall, this book fell very short of my expectations.
Told over forty years, the friendships that grew out of the Uruguay government’s dictatorship in the 1970s was beautiful to watch. De Robertis wrote a story that touched my heart, and while I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I read to gain compassion and understanding. To gain insight into a life that I don’t have any knowledge about through personal experience. To change myself and my thinking. To learn about different parts of the world. This book hits all of those marks and easily makes it one of the best books of the year!
A Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness (Candlewick Press) – Pub Date: March 12, 2013
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up a book with this title and gritty illustrations, but I definitely wasn’t thinking ti would be about cancer and grief. This book was beautiful and gorgeous and so unexpectedly good. I loved how grief, fear, and death were depicted as a monster – because it is! Ness nailed the reality of care taking (even if through the eyes of a young boy) and the buildup to a loved one’s death so well. This is a wonderful addition to books that handle the sensitive issues of terminal illness, death, and grief. Also, it’s especially important as its geared towards middle grade/young adult!
The Dearly Beloved by: Cara Wall (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019
While I’m going to save my official review for this one until after the #HWRbooks discussion post goes live (October 26th!), suffice it to say that this one is a slow build that definitely pays off by the end. If you’re hesitant to read it because you think it might be too preachy and/or heavy on the religious talk, disregard those thoughts and give it a chance! It’s very well done and doesn’t fall into either of those categories at all. I’d love to have you join the conversation on the 26th…on my Instagram page: @happiestwhenreading!
*** Twenty-One Truths About Love by: Matthew Dicks (St. Martin’s) – Pub Date: November 19, 2019
- So far, I find this one unexpectedly smart.
- It’s harder to read a book of lists than one would think.
- Even though I’m enjoying it, I’m also frustrated – mostly by Daniel.
- If Daniel has time to create so many lists, doesn’t he have time to actually be more financially productive?
Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by: Russel Brand (Henry Holt & Company) – Pub Date: October 3, 2017
Do you listen to the Currently Reading Podcast with Meredith and Kaytee? They have a segment called Slow But Steady “because sometimes just making process is good enough…” I like the idea, so I thought I’d participate and the first book that came to mind from my bookshelves was Recovery. Russel Brand is a little out there, but I also think there are nuggets of gold in his words. I can’t handle a full dose of him at once, so I think I’ll try to s l o w l y make my way through this one!