“In all this world, there is no love for you like mine.” -Maya Angelou
Reading has always been important to our family. We read to our babies from infancy. We have reading time every single night. Bookshelves fill our rooms and words fill our children with wonder, transporting them to different worlds.
After losing our babies, it was sometimes books that gave us the words that we could not express. Cry, Heart but Never Break was particularly poignant, showing how delight cannot exist without sorrow and joy cannot exist without grief. You need one to understand the other. Another was Tear Soup, making soup to deal with loss, and healing after loss. It helped, to give the kids words to express sadness and to understand the sadness of their parents, however much the words caught in the tears of my throat when I read them aloud.
One of the first nights home, we read books to Autumn. She has her own bookshelf, crammed with baby and toddler books. The shelf used to be in the boys’ room, but was moved into the nursery when she was born and they were given a “big kid shelf.” Each of the boys picked a board book to read to their sister. I sat in the glider with Autumn cradled in my arms, her brothers draped over the arm of the chair and the ottoman, and Ger looking over our shoulders.
Quentin chose Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed. This is a new book. Ger chose it from a local store, when we were scared during the pregnancy and scared of the outcome, but still thought we should buy a gift for the baby. I had never read the book before and it was too long to read to an infant, so I told Quentin we would just read the first page. The first line on the first page was “It was Autumn.”
Second book read was the BabyLit version of The Secret Garden, purchased on the same day as The Tiny Seed. At the time, it was interesting to me that Ger and I both chose books with flowers and growing as the theme. It is a simple book with a picture and name of a flower, and a single line. One of the flowers was “Iris” with the simple line “Iris rose out of the grass in sheaves.” I stared at the page, hardly believing its presence after the previous book’s inclusion of Autumn. It was like the books were talking to us.
As the five of us finished reading to the baby, Theo said “I like spending time with you and Autumn.” I thought of the many nights of reading we have ahead of us.