I love old children’s books.
Especially the ones that come into our home and become staples.
So quickly they are loved and cherished . . .
To the point of being very worn-out or worn-in depending on how you want to look at it.
I prefer worn-in.
They seem to mirror the motherhood journey.
First, a shiny and new book—with a cute new character who isn’t quite confident yet, a plot that follows a rhythm but seems to have its own twists and turns, and pictures and scenes that seem unfamiliar, like a whole new world.
Then they are flipped through, read, shared, then sometimes with lots of begging, “Please read again—just one more time!”
Suddenly, they become the book the little hands reach to pick out before nap time or bedtime.
They appear off the bookshelf—more often found on the floor or under a pillow on the couch.
The lines you hear, that little voice read-citing as you are passing by carrying another load of laundry or getting a snack ready.
Struck by the inflection of their voice almost verbatim and with the same cadence and movements you used when bringing the story to life.
It becomes the book the older one selects to share with stuffed animals or the little ones.
The book the littles grab and flip through, babbling the story into life.
The pages accidentally torn from excitement or a lack of interest in sharing the beloved book.
It becomes so incredibly loved and worn-in that almost every other page is tattered, taped, and creased from serving as a providing source of comfort and companionship.
It is the book that is carefully read-cited at bedtime with your eyes closed.
The trusted go-to story that will settle them down and get them drifting off to sleep.
A book you don’t question because it is always there.
The value of that once shiny, new book is now priceless.
Like you momma, no one can deny the imprint you are making on the lives and personalities of your littles.
Sometimes it may be hard to feel that way because you are worn-out, rushing around, taking care of all the big and little details, working to protect and provide for your family while moving a million miles an hour chasing a swirling to-do list in your head.
But you continually find time, even when it seems there is none left to give, to crack open that beloved book. To read it with care and your own charisma that has impacted your little one so much they are mirroring you when they read-cite the story.
They no longer see just the illustrations on the pages . . . they see Momma rocking that book, with the sketched boat in a storm, back and forth.
They no longer see the words but feel your love and hear your voice telling them that story.
Yet again, they surprise you.
Reminding you that in all the moments you may feel like you are failing, you are doing something exactly right. You are loving them, providing them with your attention, creativity, excitement, and protection—so strongly that they find it in that book you shared together.
Just when you think you have really let them down, they will reach for that book, climb up next to you, and this time read-cite to you the story.
Don’t let yourself miss that moment.
Don’t let yourself miss out on seeing how they see you—treasured, sacred, and comfort all rooted in deep love.
Another worn-in momma