Something I’ve been doing to help myself fall a sleep better is reading. Normally I hop on my phone for a quick check of the world before I turn on my side and go to sleep. I know, looking at light isn’t good before bed. If I hop on my phone now all I see is news that leaves my heart racing and causes me to not sleep well. If I take a lesson from Becky and read for a few moments before bed I feel tremendously better and get a more fulfilling night of sleep.
The book I busted out is a fiction I picked up a while ago. I still remember buying it and reading it. I can even tell you what new-ish CD I was listening to on repeat while I consumed most of the book. For a moment I paused and thought about all the memories tied to that book and then started to do the math to figure out when exactly it all happened. About that moment my book opened a little and my old receipt for the book fell out. It was the bookmark I used when I first got.
On the day before Thanksgiving in 2000 I was headed off on my first major flight. Up until that day I’d only been flying in one small four seat airplane. I was flying out of Minneapolis to go see my new little niece who’d been born in Washington DC just over a couple of weeks prior. My parents got me a ticket and I was off on my first flying adventure. I still remember having no idea what I was supposed to do and just wandered through the airport without a care in the world. With it being before 9/11 there was minimal security. It was packed with people heading out for Thanksgiving.
I still remember trying to figure out what I was going to do to keep myself busy on the flight. As luck would have it I happened to see this book in the bookstore. The recommendations from two of my favorite authors sealed the deal and next thing I knew I was coughing up cash for the book. Yes, I paid cash as I didn’t have a card or checkbook back then, but that’s an entirely different story for a different day 😉
Book in hand I headed to my gate, plopped myself onto a seat, put my headphones on, fired up my portable CD player, and started reading. The sound of Lifehouse almost drowned out the rest of the world while I dove into the book. I remember the rush of feeling the jet take off. The sudden sound of the landing gear dropping caught me off guard and I jerked back to reality from my book. My eyes went from side to side to see what others were doing – should I panic or was that normal? I remember an older lady catching my eye and she smiled at me. I’m pretty sure she knew exactly what had happened and quickly figured out that it was my first flight. All in all it was a memorable experience.
I remember hanging out with my parents, my brother and then sister in law, and seeing my niece for the first time. Much of my time there was a blur, but I remember how great it felt to be with my family as a family. When my parents took me back to the airport to head home I remember it was raining lightly. Dad said, “this isn’t going to be good,” just seconds before we saw a reckless driver in front of us lose control and slide across the right rows of traffic. I remember getting to the airport and the flight back, the search for my truck in the parking ramp, and the drive home.
So many memories from that long weekend and that first solo-ish trip. Of course I’ll always hold onto those memories, but sometimes it is so helpful to have something that helps bring them back into view. Sometimes it’s seeing the book itself. Other times the memories come back when I hear a certain song or two off the album. Once in a while it’s when I see someone’s head jerk up at the first unexpected loud noise on a flight and I catch myself smiling at them. This time it was an old airport bookstore receipt that’s been a bookmark for so many years. I’m grateful for keeping that bookmark, somehow it’s been with me for almost twenty years! I am looking forward to the moment in a decade or two when it falls out of the book again and takes my memory on an excellent adventure.