This past Tuesday, I got home from work, picked up the baby, headed to Barnes & Noble, and met Kelle Hampton. We talked and laughed about babies and life and she said my shirt was her favorite color and I told her I loved her shoes and she asked what perfume I was wearing and I asked where she got her dress and suddenly we found ourselves exchanging phone numbers, and Summer and I are now planning a trip to Naples next summer to go visit her and the fam.
Sha. That’s how it happened in my head on the drive to the bookstore.
What really happened was I flew home from work and blew in the front door like a tornado, dove into a change of clothes, picked up the baby, my book, a diaper bag and my purse in my dust cloud on the way back out the door, and when we arrived at Old Orchard, I ended up driving around and around in circles, following people to their cars only to have them duck between 2 cars, their spot being scooped up by another driver in the next aisle, and finally finding an open spot as far away from the mall as physically possible. We walked quickly to the bookstore, headed downstairs and found the crowd, only to find we had missed the first 15 minutes of the Q&A and I’m a little sad because the part we did catch proved that she is exactly how I’ve pictured through her writing – genuine, sweet and actually really funny. As she spoke, everyone in the crowd listened intently, asked questions, and laughed a lot, while Summer was growing heavier in my arms and insisting on pulling books off the shelves over my shoulder.
After the Q&A they has us all line up for the book signing and praise Jebus, they let those of us with little ones get in line first. So I stood and waited, surrounded by other mothers and their beautiful babies, slowly shuffling closer and closer to the table. My 20-pound squirmy Summer started growing more restless and heavier by the minute, I could feel the beads of sweat start dripping down my spine and my pits were definitely starting to turn. And as we were inching closer and were about 10 people away from the table, Summer decided that that was the perfect time to drop her blankie on the floor and whack the lidless container of puffs out of my hand. And in slow motion I grasped at the air as I watched the container fly up over my head, hit the bookshelf, hit my hand in a pathetic attempt to catch it, flip upside down and fling puffs literally all over the carpet in Barnes & Noble. Everyone around us was so sweet and scrambled to help me pick them all up as kids smooshed them under their feet and I crunched them under my knees. And then I had to stand back up while holding the baby, my purse, diaper bag and book while wearing heels. Why I thought it was a good idea to wear heeled boots is beyond me. After summoning the hulk-like thigh power needed to hoist myself and my haul back upright 3 inches higher than I would have had I made the smarter choice to wear flip-flops, we made it to the table.
I handed my camera to the mama behind me who so graciously offered to take our picture. Kelle asked who my little one was and told me she loves her name and has a niece named Summer. I asked her how the drive had been so far and if they were going to be able to explore the city at all. She mentioned Navy Pier and then we talked about the weather. Huh. She wrote something in my book, we took a picture and then we left.
I waited until I got back to the car to read the inscription and I was very excited to see what awesome dedication or nugget of knowledge she had written to me. Now, let me preface this by saying that while I feel like I know her after reading her written thoughts and following her day to day life for the last 3 years, I know that Kelle Hampton doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall. And I know that if I had to sign hundreds of books and write something creative to so many strangers one after another, I’m not sure I’d know what to put. And above all else I love reading Kelle’s blog because I feel like we share the same sunny and positive outlook on life. I’m so so happy I went and met her and she actually personally held a pen to my book, but……
Ha! Well I could have told you that. The nugget of knowledge I waited for turned out to be something that I probably said to the lunch lady yesterday, and reading it reminded me of Ralphie decoding the mysterious “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.” It still made me smile. 🙂
At the end of the day, I’m really happy I went and met Kelle in person and got to introduce Summer to her, and her inscription absolutely reminds me why I enjoy reading her writings, because positivity is a great way to enjoy life. I will forever treasure my personally signed copy of Bloom.