Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Passion Most Pure

I've been obsessing over this being Doogie's senior year and how hard it's going to be, and I didn't realize that Mia going into 5-year-old kindergarten is going to be just as hard. Yesterday we finished up her school shopping with a pink Kung Fu Panda backpack and a new black cotton skort. Jesse took her to orientation last night where she got to meet her new teacher, Mrs. Clausen, and see who is going to be in her class; the only kid she recognized was Bailey, a good friend from last year.

As we were doing the shopping yesterday, I was planning out the menu for two weeks in my head, including lunches, when it hit me: after this week, I don't have to shop for lunches for Mia any more. Nine long months of Mia-less days suddenly spread out in front of me, and I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut. What am I going to do without a little girl's voice echoing through the house all day long? No lunches, no PBS kids, no trips to the library. It's going to be just me, all by myself, at home every day. I've long said that Mia has been my saving grace with having two teenagers in the house. But now she's growing up and away. Just this week she mastered buckling herself into her booster seat in the car. It was always an inconvenience to strap her in, but now I feel its loss keenly.

During the summer, we've relaxed her bedtime to almost nonexistence. As long as she's asleep by 10 pm, we don't' worry about it too much. But I wanted to make sure that she starts the school year with plenty of sleep, so I told her that this week we would be instituting her school year bedtime. Part of Mia's routine is falling asleep in bed next to me while I read. When Jesse comes to bed a few hours later, he slides her from the bed to her sleeping bag on the floor. She still wasn't sleeping in her own bed, and it was a better option than having her sleep with us every night. I set Mia's new bedtime at 8. She'll brush her teeth and start getting settled around 7:30, but she has to be in bed by me by 8, and I warned her that if she wasn't asleep by 8:30, she would have to go to her own bed and sleep there. Last night, she brushed her teeth, got her lullaby, and was lying down by 8 next to me. As usual, she wiggled and squirmed and wanted to chat. I reminded her about the time, and although she tried, at 8:30, she wasn't even close to sleep. So I sent her off to bed. I expected tears and begging, but she simply got up, grabbed her blanket and headed into her room. She slept there all night long, and I was bereft. I am so glad that she's finally adapting to sleeping on her own, but it feels like too many big steps too soon. At last for me.

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman is the first book in the Daughters of Boston series. Faith O'Connor has been in love with Collin McGuire since she was nine, and he, at twelve, rescued her from a school bully. Now eighteen and about to start on a career in the newspaper business, she still fills her journals with poetry about him. Faith catches Collin kissing her younger sister Charity on their front porch, and when she spills the beans to their disapproving father, fireworks start to fly. Charity is determined to marry the man Faith is in love with, and Collin is disturbed by the feelings Faith evokes in him. This absolutely phenomenal historical novel is filled with drama and romance. Faith and Collin are drawn to each other, but keep apart for the sake of Charity, and because Collin doesn't believe in the God to whom Faith has devoted her life. The book is chock-full of passion. I love that Lessman portrays the fact that passion doesn't die when a couple marries. Faith's parents are still deeply in love (and aren't afraid to express that) after twenty years of marriage. Faith explains excellently why sex outside of marriage isn't in God's plan and why it hurts both participants. The both is overflowing with both faith and passion, and it makes for a fantastic story. Faith is an incredibly sympathetic character, and the O'Connors are a family I definitely plan to spend plenty of time with in future books.

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