“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ―C.S. Lewis
Every night growing up, my brothers and I would curl up next to my mother as she read us a bedtime story with a gentleness and nurturing spirit that only a mother can provide.
She introduced us to the kind and imaginative Boxcar Children, took us through the mischief and mishaps of Curious George, The Berenstain Bears, and Corduroy, kept us questioning with Goosebumps, and entertained us with the rhyming cadences of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?, Jamberry, and all of Dr. Seuss’ classics (Go, Dog. Go! being a particular favorite), in addition to other beloved stories, such as Make Way for Ducklings, Goodnight Moon, and the many enchanting tales of Walt Disney.
And as I grew a little bit older, she would sit patiently with me as I advanced in my reading with Amelia Bedelia, Ramona, When the Sun Rose, The Jolly Christmas Postman (my all-time favorite), and later, Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth.
The memory of these stories, and the feelings of comfort, security, and warmth that they evoke, are a precious gift my mother has bestowed on me, and one that is hard not to overlook when recalling the many blessings a mother gives to her children.
It is from these stories that we, as children, learn some of life’s simplest, most important lessons – lessons that hold a richer, more profound meaning as adults, after our childlike innocence succumbs to fixed resolutions and ways of being. In fact, having had the chance to read to my nieces the very children’s stories that my mother used to read to me, I can’t help but think that perhaps it would do us well to occasionally revisit such stories as adults for a dose of life’s truths.
And so, with the memory of my mother reading to me, and the belief that we’re never too old for a children’s story, please enjoy the below excerpts from Take Heart, My Child: A Mother’s Dream (2016), a “lyrical lullaby” by Ainsley Earhardt (and illustrated by Jaime Kim) that my mother gave to me this past Christmas.
A “celebration of the enduring and indelible power of love”, it is a beautiful reminder of a mother’s love for celebrating Mother’s Day:
Before you were born
Before you came to be
I dreamed a love song
On a butterfly sea.
The waters that day
Whispered truths in my ears
Of hopes for you, Love,
For your life through the years.
May your feet trace new patterns
On warm, sandy shores
May you dive into waters
And yearn to explore.
May you strive to be happy
Change your course if you’re not
Embrace the world’s colors
Colors others forgot.