I was five years old and a friend of my aunt’s gave me a Curious George ABC book. I remember thinking that I was too old for an ABC book, but I liked Curious George, so I gave it a chance. My aunt’s friend was named Kathy, and she had a son about my own age. My mom was gone and my dad hadn’t remarried yet, so I spent more than a few days hanging out with my aunt, her friend Kathy, and Kathy’s son. I don’t remember much at all about those days. I’m not sure I would remember them at all if not for that Curious George book. Inside the book, on the page for the letter K, (I can still picture it clearly) the text proclaimed that K was for kangaroo, and above it was the disturbing illustration – a blocky K with the face and arms of a kangaroo sticking out of the front and a kangaroo tail protruding from the back. Below the text, Kathy had written in “…and K is for Kathy, who loves Billy sooo much!” I recall feeling immense pleasure at reading those simple words. It was a small gesture that Kathy probably didn’t think about too much, but it blew my five year old mind. I had always been taught that writing in a book was wrong, but somehow I knew that this was okay. No, it was better than okay, because what she wrote made me so happy. I must’ve opened that book a thousand times growing up just to look at that page. For what, I’m not sure. Reassurance that someone loved me? Maybe it had something to do with my mom? I’ve been thinking about this book lately because of something a friend wrote in response to one of my posts – that a child’s environment is more important than lessons. It made me think of a quote that I’ve come across in various forms over the years – “Much more than what you say, children remember the things you do.” Some nights, I find this idea terrifying. I picture some foolish, thoughtless gesture or action of mine filed away in my child’s mind, the seed that grows to scar them later on in life. I know that’s overly dramatic, but hey, that’s me, and for the most part, I do understand that any parent who truly tries to do their best day in and day out is allowed to hope that it’s effort well spent. So that’s my plan. Just to be safe, I’ll be picking up a copy of Curious George’s ABCs when my child is 5 and writing a little something on one of the pages.
3 days until baby.