Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Relationship Books

Our Relationship Book
My sweetie and I had been dating for a several months when he had an opportunity to work at a summer camp for children with severe behavioral issues.  Knowing were going to struggle being apart for three months he gifted us a blank book in which we could write to each other.  We started the book just before he left.  And the few times we saw each other, we would pass the book to the other so they could write, respond, and connect.

Color pencil, chocolate wrapper,
scrap paper and glue stick.
In the blank pages we could share our excitement for our future, musings about our relationship, and sadness and frustration at being apart.  We continued to use this book until we exhausted it's pages a couple years later.  And our entries expanded to include the challenges we were having in our relationship, the questioning of and deepening of our commitment to one another.  We communicated through letters, poetry, drawings, and as I learned more tricks, I started adding pop-ups.

We play Scrabble for a cumulative
score to help prevent hurt feelings.
Of course, it wasn't all mushy or all seriousness.  We also used the space to record Scrabble and Bilge scores, and tape our fortunes from Chinese take-out and labels from special occasion wine bottles.  So in this essence, it also served as a bit of a relationship scrapbook.

This gift of meaningful communication and deepening connection is one of my most treasured possessions.

When I browse through our relationship book I have many reactions.  From disbelief that I could have written anything so embarrassingly gushing, to appreciation for how nurturing and thoughtful my sweetie has always been.  I read our responses to each others writings with fondness for a young relationship that was fresh and imperfect.  Our book is something of a time capsule for me.  And although I may not want to share most of the contents with anyone else, I treasure them.

As I consider new uses for the books I create, I often refer to these kinds of meaningful experiences.  Blank books are wonderful for personal introspection and plumbing the depths of our souls.  And more than becoming a record of thoughts or events, they offer an unexpected route to deepening our connection with others.
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