There’s something about this time of year….this space between Christmas and New Years in particular, that always makes me think of my childhood. Not just generic thoughts of childhood, but in particular listening to my Dad read me the first few Little House on the Prairie books. He read them to me after I received the series for Christmas (the yellow paperback versions – oh how I loved them!). The weather was cold and my Mom was working the evening shift as a nurse. Dad was recovering from a minor surgery and needed something relaxing to do that would also keep an ornery daughter corralled. I was old enough to read myself at that point, but hearing him bring the characters to life was really quite perfect.
Those books offer a glimpse into many of Laura’s relationships throughout her life – not the least of which was that between her and her Pa. My own “Pa” has a really deep voice, and did the stories justice in his animated reading of them. The wind howled on the outside of our small farm house, but inside it was cozy – the fire burned and the adventures of long-ago prairie life danced through my head.
Those memories are sweet and comforting. They warm my heart even when the temperature beyond our walls is frosty.
I am the mother of two small boys, and I adore them both more than life itself. The only time I half wish for a little girl is when I think of those books which meant so much to me. The boys can read them of course, but I somehow doubt they’ll get the full-on joy from that particular series that I did as a young girl.
It’s okay. I may not have a daughter to share the “Little House” books with, but there is still a little girl that lives deep within me - and she will always enjoy re-reading and reliving the adventures of that particular pioneer family.
Later tonight (once the boys are sound asleep in their snug little beds) I’ll open my favorite of the series - On the Banks of Plum Creek. As I begin to read it (for what will seem like the hundredth time), I’ll revisit the characters as if they are old friends – which of course they are. As I turn the pages, and become once again engrossed in the story; I’ll remember the first time I fell in love with it all those years ago.
Those childhood memories (as well as many others where my Mom was doing the reading) are a mish mash of happiness, featuring lovely time spent with loved ones as we read by the roaring wood stove. Maybe I won’t share the Little House series with my young sons, but I’ll find some books that we can share and which they’ll be able to enjoy just as much. For though the stories may wind up being different – it is the memory of precious time spent with a parent that means the most.
That’s something I can pass on, and pass it on – I will.