I can hear mom’s voice as clearly as if she were here with me now,
“Lessy it’s 7:45!”
You see, every evening my mom’s memory would fail her.
I’d reminded her many times that nothing could be as important as Strawberry Shortcake’s tea time with Miss Lemon Meringue in the strawberry patch in my blankets.
Or me listening to Kermit the Frog’s pulse through my stethoscope so I could clear him for cookie-baking the next day.
But if I’m being honest …
I welcomed the interruption.
That’s because this was the most exciting time of the day because of what always came next.
Eagerly I would nestle Strawberry Shortcake and her pastry-scented friends shoulder to shoulder in the beds I made for them in my giant strawberry carry-case.
And without so much as a word, Kermit would lay still all night on a generous pile of clean socks I arranged just for him.
Once the 8th step on our stairs creaked, I knew it was time.
Pushing her tousled brown bangs through my bedroom door crack, mom would ask, “are you readyyyy?!”.
In she would walk with a book tucked under her arm, intentionally hiding the title.
Out of all the books she could ever read to me as a bedtime story, Hucklebug was the absolute best.
Hucklebug was a young bug who had grown tired of chores and responsibilities within his bug tribe.
Fed up with bug life, he made the brave decision to run away so he could do whatever he wanted (and by the way, chores were banned).
But soon he discovered living alone in wild lavender fields would be tough and that chores weren’t so bad after all.
But do you know the best part about this story?
It was when my mother read, she shared animated facial expressions and wide-eyed enthusiasm, and practically brought Hucklebug into my room.
This story was no longer a compilation of words on a page, but a gift of humility and appreciation, wrapped in colorful gestures, loving eye contact and gentle strokes of my hair.
As she read I would see myself as Hucklebug, anxious to see the world on my own, even at seven years old.
I remember thinking as my mom read to me – surely she must have known she would one day have to let me go out into the world alone…
This story was a reminder to try not to do it too fast.