Sometimes an opportunity pops up between the cracks of the sidewalk, and you just know that you know that you know it will be a moment of all moments.
Anne Lamott came to my town, to my bookstore (which I fervently all my own since I guess I believe a girl should put her name on the bookstore where she first releases her dream come true).
The evening would call for a choreographed balance of iPads and trust and promises of grandeur to my children to make it come together. I asked them to tell me who they would most love to meet in the world. Their answers were Katy Perry and Stampy Longnose.
"Fine, whomever, whatever. Just place those beloveds in your mind's eye and know how much you would hate it if I stood in your way of that introduction. Can you feel the frustration coursing through your veins? There. Hold onto that sensation and keep it in mind while I ask you to wait patiently in the kids' section of the bookstore for perhaps a couple of hours."
They were flawless, a real dream duo in support of their mom. And I will forever sing their praises for not embarrassing or distracting me in a crowd of my peers.
Annie seems like a favorite aunt to me, which is saying a lot since I have a couple of aunts whom I have always adored. I wanted to meet her not because I wanted to worship her like a swooning fan, but because I wanted to tell her that she matters to me. I wanted her to know that she has taught me, that I have learned from her, that she is among the greatest of guides in my life.
Another day, I will tell you what she said to the masses, because I can tell you that I took copious notes. But today, in this post, I want to tell you what she said to me. Just to me.
I was #244 in the line of people to meet her, and she sat in a high backed chair. When it was my turn, I knelt before her as she signed Small Victories for me. I so badly wanted to be eloquent and memorable.
I said, "You are permanently magnificent, Annie."
She gasped just a little, and she said, "Nobody has ever said that to me."
I said, "Oh, but you are. Please never forget."
She said, "I'm going to write that down."
She gave me her book and I gave her my mine, a most surreal trade. And oh, the beautiful irony that I would give her 'And Life Comes Back' and that she would give me 'Small Victories.' The titles alone tell the exchange.
I opened to the page I had written to her. I said, "I wrote a book. You helped me."
And she said, "You did it. Good girl."