December 17, 1967.
Forty-eight years ago.
My parents stood before a small group of family and friends in front of the Pastor, and with my Mama’s best friend and my Daddy’s Daddy standing beside them, they said “I do.”
And they did.
They laughed, they learned, they worked hard, they listened, they tried, they failed, they succeeded, but most of all they loved.
Through it all. They loved.
Each other. Us. People they met along life’s journey.
One of the things they enjoyed most was hearing stories about the children in the family–and those who were not in the family. They loved the stories, and they loved being with them. Over the years it became one of their greatest joys to pick out books for the little ones they knew and loved. On birthdays and especially at Christmas.
It has been one of mine too. For the past two Christmases I have chosen “Maemae’s holiday book” in honor of their anniversary. This being the third Christmas without my Mama right here with us, I spent a lot of time and energy and thought into making my choice for the book this year.
This year’s story I had to think about before committing to it. After all, it is about a mouse. Mama was not a fan of mice. As a matter of fact, she could be downright inhospitable to the little creatures. She never could sit down and watch “Ratatouille.” A mouse that cooks? Food? In a restaurant? “Blech,” she would say and shake her head.
But this little mouse named Mortimer (pretty sure Mama would have loved his name too, I know I do) is adorable, and the whole book is whimsical at the surface and powerful underneath. It’s about making room and finding a place and feeling the love of the Gift given all so many years ago. Without giving the storyline away, we can all learn something about hospitality and welcoming with open arms from this little mouse. Eventually. Like all the rest of us, Mortimer is a work in progress.
As I sit here next to our twinkle-lighted tree with “Mortimer” at my side, I give thanks for my parents who loved reading and taught me to do so as well. I give thanks for them and their love of children and books and how they loved matching the perfect book to the perfect child. It was a beautiful thing to behold and to be a part of. Tonight I’m honored to carry on this tradition, and I hope, as the ones loved so dearly by Maemae and Cap/Uncle B and Aunt B find their books in their mailboxes over the next couple of days, that they will remember the smiles and the hugs, and even if they don’t remember that–I hope they will know how precious they are, that they were and are still so loved, and that every person deserves a sweet place where they are always welcome. A place to call home.
Love to all.
PS—I have one copy about Mortimer’s little adventure to share. I’d love to send it to someone with a little one or not quite so little one who would enjoy it. Comment below sharing your favorite holiday book and subscribe to the blog and you’re entered to win. It’s that easy. Winner will be selected randomly Friday 12/18 at midnight EST.