The smell. The feeling. The excitement. The crackle it made when I first opened the cover. I sat and wondered where this gift would take me. Oh the things I would see in my mind. The places I would travel. My mind was whirling with thoughts and hopes and wonder.
It was my seventh birthday and I had just received a book from one of my favorite Aunts and Uncles. It was A Childs Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. This was my introduction into poetry.
I loved this book. I took this book with me everywhere I went. I read this book over and over. I studied it, I absorbed it. I learned it, and right now as I sit here forty years later, I can recite “Bed In Summer”.
I remember being very young and hearing ‘spring ahead, fall back’, and I would think to myself, that’s Bed In Summer! In winter I get up at night,… in summer quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day! I got it! And I could relate to it! I had a voice! I was a part of the world in my very small space.
I think books are so much more capable of teaching children things than we could ever as parents try to explain. When a child can take a story, relate it to his or her own environment, then my friends, you have a deeper level of understanding.
I can remember how i felt, working things out in my head, and reasoning things. The business of growing up, when we are alone, at nap time or in a certain situation, when the child is processing a thought or idea. And when that child can develop and express with logic and understanding to their own environment!
Sometimes now when I look back on my childhood, I think of other ways I worked things out in my mind. And wonder if there were any opportunities that I missed along the way. Those aha moments were big for me. I was my own cheerleader folks!
Has there ever been a time when a birthday or holiday came around and you didn’t know what to get the electronically tech savvy child who has everything? Give him or her a book like this one, or any book. Turn off the computers, the ipods, the phones and the tablets, and have a reading night once a week. Youre not being mean i promise!!! Youre opening a whole new world to a small mind. A world of wonder and excitement and reasoning.
When I started college in my mid thirties, I wrote my first paper, and the professor used my very first college paper as the example which he wanted all papers in his class written! So no, im not just blowing my own horn! I didn’t do it myself! I did it with my aunt and uncle who bought me the first book at seven. I did it with my mother who always let me buy a book or go to the library. I had been developing a love of books ever since that is always evolving.
When I raised my children as a single mom we didn’t have cable. I just didn’t have the heart to tell them it was because we couldn’t afford it so instead I chose to tell them it was a choice. And I collected classics for them. And today I have a daughter with a bachelors in english on her way to get a masters who is also a three-time published poet. I have another daughter going to nursing school and when I read her papers and hear her writing voice grow and develop, it makes me so proud! maybe it was ok to be broke and I just didn’t know it?