“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

When I was expecting my first son, Nathaniel, my parents had enrolled me in a children’s monthly book club. At my baby shower my parents presented me with a number of Dr. Suess books and a certificate to a monthly children’s book club. Each month I would anxiously await the next installment of books. I remember how excited I was when the box of books would arrive in the mail.

I began reading aloud to my children as soon as they were awake long enough to listen. With my first son, Nathaniel, I remember reading these books aloud during pregnancy and then once born, laying on his baby blanket with him reading these books for hours at a time. Nathaniel would quietly sit, with eyes wide open, and listen and look as I read each book to him.

When my second son Alexander was born he, Nathaniel and I would cuddle up on the couch and read these books aloud together. Alexander and Nathaniel also loved hearing stories before they laid down for the night. My boys read at very early ages — three and four years old. We all still remember the first Dr. Suess books each of them read aloud and the day they made this great accomplishment.

Filled with memories

Inside the cover of each of these books were two names and dates. The names and dates represented a momentous occasion – the first time the boys had read the book aloud. These books were cherished and filled with once-in-a-lifetime memories. As my boys grew, I looked forward to passing down these books to their children – my future grandchildren.

The fire of 2001

If you’ve been reading this blog within the last three years or have read my book, You Never Cook Alone, you most likely know about our family’s house fire. Because of that horrible fire, we lost our first home and everything in it including our two beloved kitties, Lucky and Tabby. That is an amazing story and a testament of God’s faithfulness.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:6-7

Items that represented years of our lives from the very beginning like my wedding dress and other mementos from our wedding, all of our family photographs, the boys first outfits worn home from the hospital, the incredible handmade train set that my father, Ed, had built for my sons, the collection of recordings my mother and father had made of themselves reading aloud to my children, and those books — those children’s books with all the dates signifying our children’s accomplishments — all were lost before our very eyes and in only an hour’s time.

But, I also remember another moment – one I will never forget. As we drove to the hotel later that evening, I remember (like it was yesterday) looking around at my family and thinking, “We are home. We are here. No one is harmed. We are all we need. Thank you, God!”

Lost and found

That fire may have taken our family’s possessions and our beloved Lucky and Tabby, but it did not take away our memories, our love, or our spirit. At the end of the day it is our family and the memories that are so much more valuable than the earthly possessions.

It took our family a long time to rebuild our home and to replace what had been lost. I replaced hundreds of the books that were lost in the fire, but my boys were older and so I only purchased a couple of their favorite Dr. Suess books, knowing that someday I would begin to purchase another set for each son to be passed onto my grandchildren. After twelve years, THAT DAY had come.

As I walked through the store yesterday, I noticed an entire collection of Dr. Seuss and Eastman books on sale for $5.00 each. My son Nathaniel is getting married at the end of this year, and although I do not have grandchildren as of yet, it felt right. I picked out ten of our favorite books, including the first book he had read at the age of three.

Inside this book, I wrote, “This book was first read by your father in 1992.”

An exciting new chapter in my family’s lives has been opened and I am elated.