My first grade teacher gave me Tony Johnston's beautiful picture book Yonder over twenty years ago, and it's been one of the most well-loved titles in my collection ever since.
Poetry was not my preferred genre at the time (I gravitated more toward the Babysitter's Club series--ha!), but something about Yonder's captivating illustrations and lyrical language spoke to me.
While pregnant with my firstborn, it was the book I chose to read aloud to the baby I had yet to meet. The themes of family ties and the inevitable passing of time and generations reduced me to tears (although pregnancy hormones may have played a part too).
Enter life with a toddler; you quickly learn to put valuable possessions up. But while rearranging the office this week, I accidentally left my precious childhood book within Gray's reach. It wasn't long and he was roaming around the house with Yonder tucked in the crook of his arm, begging "Read farm book?" to whoever would listen. If nobody obliged, he sat on the floor and slowly flipped through the pages, chanting "There. Just over there."
My valued book is already stained with a strawberry jam thumbprint, and I'm sure it will see worse abuse than that in the coming days. But having a torn and tattered book is a small price to pay for seeing my little boy thoroughly engrossed in a beautiful story.
Precious things aren't meant to be tucked away in unseen closet corners. Precious things are meant to be used.