I try not to step foot into my 2 tween boys' room when they're home.
It's a hot mess in there when they're in it: over-scented with Axe body everything, over-littered with clothing worn only once, and over-loud with their video games and iPods blaring music.
But when they're at school and their room looks as bad as a looted town during the zombie apocalypse, I wrangle the former soldier inside of me to get down to business. I bring in the big guns: the vacuum, the black garbage bag, and the odor-eliminating-notsureifit'secofriendly-spray and attack the room like it's my only mission on earth.
I'm their mama, and the buck stops with me.
Earlier today, I went in for a round against the room. I set the timer to focus my efforts to just ten minutes so I wouldn't find myself in there the.entire.afternoon, ransacked under their beds, and dusted their electronics while holding my breath.
But when I saw this, the wind was knocked out of me, and I teared up. Literally.
Do my sons know I first read this book when I was about their age?
Do they understand it was this book that inspired me to become a writer?
Do they know that after reading the final page of this novel, I said, "I want to write a book by the time I'm 16, like S.E. Hinton."
And even if I am over two decades past that deadline, I still hang on that, one day, I can make someone feel/cry/laugh/dream just like I did, reading this book, and the handful of young adult novels published so long ago.
Needless to say, I spent nine out of ten minutes flipping through this book's pages, and finding passages that resonated so true, even now. As an adult, I still hang on to the inspration sparked by this book, then handed to me by a librarian at the Taraval Branch of the San Francisco Library. Me, a latch-key who treated the library like my own playground.
It was perfect find, serendipitous and beautifully karmic. It brought back meaning to my life's work, of writing my heart out in the wee hours, pining for words and for the day I'll be in print, placed in the library, and then found under a tween's bed.
Today, I am thankful for that full circle moment. I needed it.