I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
I have one sister. I always wanted to be more like her,and, as odd as it sounds, she wanted to be more like me.
In my eyes, she was (and still is) pretty close to perfect. She dresses nicely. Her clothes fit perfectly. Her house is tidy. Take the opposite of each of those and you have me. Sweatshirts and blue jeans, many borrowed from my husband or children, and a messy house.
I guess I focus too much on externals, because my sister says, “You were never afraid to try anything new. I wish I had that fearlessness.”
Lack of fear can end up in trouble, though. I make a lot of foolish choices.
When I was a little girl, I remember two books that my mother read to me. One was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. Its silly, rhymy, Dr. Seussical nonsense just appealed to me. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if it was the way he embraced the diversity around us.
I have always believed that each of us is a uniquely made, uniquely gifted, one-of-a-kind individual. I don’t want to fit into anyone else’s mold. Maybe that independent streak was first nurtured by Dr. Seuss.
The other book that I remember loving was Runaway Pony, Runaway Dog, by Ruth and Latrobe Carroll. It’s the story of a pony and a dog trying to find their way back home. They have a number of adventures along the way, some rather scary and others just revelling in their freedom.
Both were finding happiness in roaming through sun-warmed, sweet-scented brush, in drinking from cold, rushing brooks, in hearing the steady whisper of water over rocks, in splashing and swimming in clear pools.
Could this have also sparked my own love for independence?
My sister’s favorite book? I think it was Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.
Do you see the orderliness that appealed to her? Yet there was that longing for the pioneer spirit of Madeline.
Deirdre’s favorite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. She wants to be a nurse and help others. Did this book shape her?
I’ll have to ask my other children about their favorite books now. I wonder how they were influenced.
Or is it that what is already within us is simply drawn to a book that has that same thing?