My baby and I cleaned off his bookshelf this weekend. My baby is nearly 8, and his interest in the picture books that I spent hours upon hours reading to him and his big sister has waned in favor of a growing number of graphic novels and chapter books. He needed more room on his shelf. My heart broke a little (read: a lot) when he handed me You Are My I Love You and said that it was time to pack it away. It’s lovingly saved for future grandbabies, but I can’t believe our picture book time has passed.
I was given this book as a shower gift before the birth of my first child and I have yet to get through it without having tears spring to my eyes. I buy it for baby showers and first birthdays every year.
I’ve read it hundreds of times, most often with a warm, sweet-smelling baby snuggled with me in our rocking chair. In the days where hours spent like that were considered work. There was work to be done, bonding with a little sack of sweetness and teaching language. Now the work is harder…schedules to be followed, fractions to be divided, endless squabbles to be refereed, life lessons to be presented with care and sensitivity and just the right words. We used to just have the same easy words, over and over and over.
“I am your parent; you are my child.
I am your quiet place; you are my wild.”
And the line that got me every.single.time:
“I am your way home; you are my new path”
It’s right what they say…the days are slow but the years are fast. Most days as a parent still feel crazily long, with all the responsibilities and struggles and quiet moments where your heart swells. I’m begging for a glass of wine and my bed at the end of most of the days. And yet, my picture book years went by in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe that it worked…all the hours spent in the rocking chair led to two smart kids who love books and need more room on their shelves. So it’s time to move on.