the sweetest hours I knew

A couple of years ago, my son sent me an unexpected text message I loved so much, I took a screen shot of it to squirrel away in my Forever File. Why? Because this was no mere text message; for me, this was a special delivery, a momentous occasion.

In November of 2013, while doing a bit of early Christmas shopping with his sweetheart, my son, James, wandered into a little gift shop where a pair of handmade, felted wool creatures happened to catch his eye. A dapper owl, sporting a bow tie and straw hat and clutching a tiny guitar, was seated in a small boat beside an elegant feline in pearls and a fancy dress. Stepping closer to examine the tag, James drew back, snapped a photo, and fired it off to me with the following text:

191-the sweetest hours I ever knew 1

Oh, how I rejoiced in this text – words that made not only my day, but my week, month, and year. My dear James knew his Edward Lear!! Right here, on my phone’s tiny screen, was proof! I didn’t take gymnastics back in school, but let me assure you, my heart turned a back flip with a half twist when this text chimed in.

I have countless cherished memories of motherhood, too many to enumerate here. But surely, the sweetest hours I knew as a mother were those I spent reading to my children. We sailed away for a year and a day with The Owl and the Pussy-cat, vowed with Peter Pan that we’d never grow up, frolicked in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh and Piglet, marveled with Lurvy at the miracle of words woven into a spider’s web. Yes, we knew the Muffin Man; we sailed on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew with Wynken, Blynken, and Nod; oh, how we loved to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue!

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing ever a mother can do – to read to her children….

My precious three are grown and gone now. Each one of them, I’m happy to report, has grown up to be a bona fide bibliophile. I like to think I had a lot to do with this. I still stop to admire children’s books in bookstores and continue to add new titles to my ever-growing collection. These books, like my children, are my treasure.

I reach for the shelf, pull down our worn copy of The Owl and The Pussy-cat, thumb through the pages. And suddenly, perhaps by magic, here on my left is a golden-haired girl with intelligent green eyes; on my right, a wide-eyed boy who twirls my hair while I read; in my lap, a long-lashed, rosy-cheeked toddler who knows these words by heart. They’re here with me, all three of them. They always will be.

And right here in my memory, hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, we dance by the light of the moon, the moon, moon, we dance by the light of the moon.

191_the sweetest hours I knew 2

(This post is the first in a 5-day Photo Challenge to which I was nominated by my dear friend, Kristine, who blogs regularly at candidkay.)


16 thoughts on “the sweetest hours I knew

  1. Your posts (that I subscribe to by email) are often the highlight of my day. A gentle, thoughtful pause of beauty in a busy day that always refreshes my soul, thank you! And today’s post was especially meaningful to me, since my three children are mostly grown; my favorite part of parenting was reading to them…the complete Little House series, the classics like Tom Sawyer, Wind in the Willows, Pinocchio …and countless picture books! I, too, still buy picture books…for inspiration and renewal (and hopefully for future grandchildren)!

    • Linda, do you know what a gift it is to me to know you enjoy my posts? Thank you, so much! It’s for kind souls like you that I do what I do.

      I love every book you mentioned! Your children were lucky indeed. What a gift our children are, and what a delight it is to share beautiful stories and illustrations with them. For me, it was the joy of joys. xo

  2. Oh, I love it! Feel like I’m right there reading with you:). And you’re right. Reading together was always the happiest time of my day. I have one confirmed bibliophile and one teen resisting but I see his enjoyment when it’s the right book. Kudos to you for raising three book lovers and for a beautiful post!

    • Thank you, my friend! Story time was always my favorite of favorites. Glad you loved it as much as I did. It’s fun to see how the right book brightens the countenance, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Linda, you’re an artist! How lovely! What a wonderful illustration of The Owl and the Pussy-cat!! Thank you for sharing it here, a perfect accompaniment to this post! Love your work! xo

  3. a perfectly beautiful magical tale. a sign of wonder: a child reciting to mama all that they’ve learned side by side, pages all the while turning…..

  4. Beautiful words Amy. There are many book-lovers in my family, especially daughter Ann. I still enjoy relaxing and reading a good book (large print these days). At the age of 83 I’ve also been listening to many audio books because they are easier on the eyes, however, there is still nothing better than holding a “real book” in my hands.

    • I love that there are many book-lovers in your family! (I happen to be exceptionally fond of your dear, book-loving, wonderful Ann.) I also enjoy audio books, but I agree that there’s nothing on earth like holding a real book. So lovely to hear from you, Martha! Thank you so much for taking a moment to send me a note. Much love to you and your family, and happy reading! xoxox

  5. Your post touched my heart. Children and books = treasure.
    Love the beautiful picture of your darlings.

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