A) are a mom,
B) know a mom, or
C) have a mom,
then I have some books for you.
(If you don’t see yourself fitting in one of the aforementioned categories, I have a great therapist recommendation for you.)
I’ve been thinking recently (in between the typical day’s thoughts of whether or not the day-before-yesterday’s coffee is still fair game and whether or not the smooshed brown poo in Little Friend’s diaper looks appropriately fiber-filled) about the legacy I’ll leave my children. Unless I take a long view of things, I worry that I will be that mom who is one day intimately inspecting her tot’s diapers and the next waking up to find the tot has flown the coop to adulthood. And then what? What will I have accomplished in the intervening 18 years?
Robert Frost called home “the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in…something you don’t have to deserve.” In my deliberate grasp at the long view, I’m taking Frost’s words and imagining home as a safe harbor. I’m fortunate enough to have a safe harbor of my own. Whatever faults my parents may have, my mom and dad have given me a gift I consider priceless: a place where I can safely dock my flawed ship, a place where I can replenish supplies, a place where I’m “taken in” no matter my condition. That’s what I want for Little Friend: a safe harbor where she can gear up to explore the wide world and where, no matter how deserving she may or may not be, she is always loved, accepted, and embraced.
So how do I tell her all of that when she’s only two?
Two astute children’s book authors have an answer.
Someday by Alison McGhee
Go get the tissues now. I mean it. I just read the three “Look Inside!” pages featured on Amazon and teared up. Yup. I barely made it past the cover and publication info. Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds must have had tear ducts of concrete to write and illustrate this book without melting in a deluge of tears. They had me at “One day the first snowflakes fell, and I held you up…” Someday is a journey of love–love of life, love of child, love of mother, love of dreams. Someday intimately captures what we hold tightly through life and what we must someday, because time pries it from our grasp, let go. Someday belongs on every mother’s bookshelf. Just do your mom a favor when you give it to her–include a large box of Kleenex as well.
No Matter What by Debi Gliori
You know how the teenage years start around, say, four years old? The eye-rolling? The hands-on-hips-just-make-me stance? Well, this is the book for moms of four to fourteen year olds (and everyone before and beyond.) In No Matter What, Small Fox tests Large Mama Fox’s patience with his “grim and grumpy” temper-tantrumy self. Then, in the manner of all life-explorateurs age two and up, Small goes on to wonder how far Large’s love can stretch. With fanciful flights of imagination and endearing illustrations, Deb Gliori conveys the most wonderful truth of a mother’s resilient, unbreakable love: “We may be close, we may be far,/ but our love still surrounds us…/ wherever we are.”
With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s never to early to stockpile a gift (or two) with that box of Kleenex. Then again, these particular books need not wait for a special occasion to be gifted. Any day is reason enough to pass along Someday and No Matter What.