Stuck to my steering wheel for ages was a faded, wrinkled, taped on pink smiley face sticker. That sticker, when it finally lost its sticky tapiness and went and fell apart, brought tears to my eyes.
For that sticker was love. It started as a little reminder to smile. Left for my dear husband on his wallet. It then quietly found its way onto my calendar- stuck to the day that he would return from a long business trip. Then that pink smile meandered over to the top of someone’s favorite beer bottle. And on it went.
That sticker brought smiles and chuckles and sheer exasperation at its discovery (no one likes to think of anyone knowing you’ve eaten all the candy because you found that gleaming smile at the bottom of the bowl). The smile despite the tough day at work and a chuckle despite the screaming three year old in the backseat brought joy to my heart. The smiles and chuckles continued until that sticker found its way to the center of my steering wheel for a solid three days before I noticed it- as I was apparently too busy for smiles and chuckles that week.
And so the sticker remained as constant reminder to stop and smile back. I miss it already.
I have since given up trying to have the morning wrestling match in regards to what my four-year old will choose to wear to school each day. We had a lovely stretch of leggings and skirts and tops with a headband arranged just so. Maddie Long Legs (as her favorite teacher dubbed her when she was just a baby) has since abandoned said outfit. We have moved on to tights, dresses, and a headband arranged just so. Unless her besties are not wearing headbands, then we have a ponytail arranged just so, or just her recently cut locks arranged not so (brushing hair is akin to cutting off your arm in our house).
There is no hope for pants with anything that resembles a button or zipper. Besides the fact that she is tall and lanky, those simply won’t do for my tactile picky offspring. A notion that my mother rejoices in as sweet, sweet karma due to her exasperation in getting me to wear socks that had anything resembling a seam.
We have reached a tremulous truce, my daughter and I. She can dress herself, pick out her own outfit and I
cringe at admire her individual fashion sense. Which is why she traipsed down the stairs in navy blue polka dot tights with a purple glittery dress and starry black rain boots.
I stood there tapping my ballet flat adorned foot (no socks) waiting for her to decide which headband to wear and we went out into the world to start our day.
Between the pages of a book a child discovers possibility and wonder – a lifelong commitment to losing herself within the pages. It sadly didn’t happen in school. Although a most vivid auditory memory of resting her head on the desk and listening to the lilting tones of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, ruminates to this day. Outside the read aloud, in the other five hours and forty minutes a day, reading hurt. It wasn’t until wheeling to the library to get lost amongst the stacks that an awakening occurred. She devoured the authors’ words and they merged with her soul. Countless pages, word after word they seared themselves onto her imagination and she reveled in them. The difference? It wasn’t about how she sounded when she read or what she said about what she read. These stories were for her and her alone. It was about how the books made her feel. It was about how her thoughts soared after reading the words. It was how her pen hit the page in the utmost compliment of copying a phrase, an idea, a thought. Trip after trip to the stacks, night after night of hiding under the sheets with a flashlight, she was a reader. But she was the only one who knew.
To this day when I read a book, I get lost. I need to commit from start to finish and sit in the thoughts and feelings that the author has gifted me with. They’re hard to translate to words. It’s an internal conversation that doesn’t seem to translate as effectively to speech. It makes me wonder about the reluctant readers that I see. What’s going on inside those heads? Are they locked in their minds in a vibrant and wonderful conversation with the words that they cannot seem to handle translating? I dare say we should aim to put those books that call to their reading selves in their hands and let them read. It is vital. Everyone deserves to be lost.