Parenthood, I had heard someone say, is an opportunity to experience childhood all over. Except this time you have a driver’s license and a bank account, which makes it not like childhood at all.
I am collecting the books that made my childhood, though, hoping they’ll make my daughter’s too. I still had my Shel Silverstein books and have put all of the Maurice Sendak that I used to have on Amelia’s Amazon wish list. I bought big lots of Bright & Early books and Berenstain Bears off of eBay, and am buying the Brambly Hedge books used from Amazon one after another, as good condition copies appear for less than a dollar. I have stood in the (very good) local used book store, marveling at copies of the same editions of the same chapter books that my dad read to me, trying to remember if they were good enough to buy again.
And I’ve started remembering the books that were at my grandparent’s house, which I read over and over, and putting them on Amelia’s wish list just for nostalgia. Doctor Dan the Bandage Man and The Story About Ping evoke the toothpaste-and-Irish-Spring smell of my grandmother’s house, the cool plush green carpeting under bare feet, the 50s-tchotchke pictures of a little Indian girl and little Indian boy, grandpa’s piano with molded candles on top and the bench swing and astroturf on their enclosed porch.
Amelia will have some different books in her childhood and obviously different grandparents’ houses. She won’t ever know what mine were like. So it’s true that I’m taking this opportunity to relive my own… and enjoying every minute.
It’s also a scream to play with her toys.