August 10, 2011

Animal Tales

One of my most favorite books! Actually this is one book with lots of stories, all classics, all darling, all fun, all thing your kidlings will enjoy and you will feel . . . . transported to a time when you could eat sugar without consequences. When you could be tired and not look it. When you didn’t care what you looked like. When your day was taken up with Small But Important Things.

In short, you’ll feel like you did when you were a kid. Or at least, that’s how I feel when I revisit old fashioned stories that seem far far removed from the present day, the present time, the present problems.

When I read books like this one, I remember the chocolate chip cookies my mom made when I was 5. They had walnuts, which I didn’t particularly enjoy at the time, but now when I eat cookies with walnuts (NOT pecans.) I think of my mom, and I think of sitting at my little table, listening to my stories-on-records and eating my cookies and being so happy to be five.

I was aware of it at the time, I’m telling you. I knew even then, that I was experiencing a special time and that what I was experiencing was Happiness. Young life for me was somewhat chaotic. So those periods of happiness made themselves very known and those moments really stood out and stamped their little feet all over my memories.

My daughter tells me at times, with real sadness in her voice, “It’s hard to be a kid, Mom.” I ache for her because I know how hard it can be, to be a child and I also know it’s going to get harder. Or at least, it gets harder in different ways. I have a voice now that I didn’t have when I was young, and that makes a huge difference in my ability to process the less-than-optimal.

Without a doubt, the hardest part of being a parent for me is to feel pain on behalf of my child. The first time my kiddo was brushed aside on a school field trip by a playmate who didn’t want to play with her, she turned to me and her face just crumpled. Of course, she cries almost every day at home because of some nonsense or another, but this was sadness of a different sort. She felt really hurt. I felt so helpless because I knew my inner control freak couldn't really do much in this situation. I felt like my tummy might exit through my throat. I wanted to tell her, this is just the first time, there are going to be so many other times of hurt, don’t let this little slight turn into a memory. But of course I can’t tell her that.

She has that special child ability to feel happy and sad within minutes of each other. She probably won’t ever remember that day she was upset about that friend, but I will. I’ll remember her face and what it looked like. I’ll remember that was the first time Someone Out in the World made her really and truly sad.

And so . . . where does that leave us? Nowhere. And everywhere. Parents everyday have to endure far worse than a little wound to their kids’ feelings. And so, even with the Big, Really Serious problems as well as the casual grievances, we pick up books and we read them. And sometimes we find books that take us to places where things are Just Fine and those times, those reading times, become happy memories all on their own. And we forget for a little while that things are hard. Or that they can be harder. Or that they aren’t as hard as we imagine them to be. We just read a book.

You can find ‘Animal Tales’ here. It’s awesome.


  1. What a wonderful post. My daughter started preschool for the first time yesterday and it was a bittersweet day for me. I'm so proud of my big four-year-old girl, yet at the same time I'm sad to see these early days slipping away. My throat felt tight as I watched her meet other children and I secretly worried about how I will help her through the very kinds of hurts you describe - the ones that can't be easily healed with a kiss and a band-aid. -Michelle

  2. Thanks Michelle for the sweet comments :) -- How exciting about your daughter starting preschool! I know just what you mean about those early days slipping away! Let me tell you, I definitely got teary when Julia 'graduated' from preschool this year...I'll need the tissues handy for the 1st day of the big K pretty soon! ~Melissa