We were in the pediatrician’s office waiting to be seen. You know when your kid is all sick and cuddly and curls up in a ball like they’re years younger than they actually are. That was her. She was playing with all the toddler toys, the little magnetic cars, and the twisted wire with the blocks you can move around.
That’s when I first spotted it.
Laying inside a box of children’s books, just waiting to be read, was the Peter Rabbit giant treasury of stories. It was the SAME exact one I had when I was a kid. I read that thing end to end so many times. Heck, my name is Peter and if you find a book about a mischievous rabbit that’s your namesake you make sure to keep it close. All these years later, I grabbed the book in the pediatrician’s office and asked my sick little girl to come over. I asked her if she wanted to read some stories. While we waited to see the doctor we read Peter Rabbit and how he lost his coat in Mr MacGregor’s garden. We read about Benjamin Bunny and how his dad rescued them from the cat. With my little girl still feeling unwell, we shared the reading duties, softly moving through the stories I grew up with one by one.
As we flipped through the pages, something caught my eye. There was an inscription tucked inside the front pages of the book. It read simply, “To my darlings Angela and Casey, love Grandma”. It was dated in the same green cursive “Easter 1982” with a line of X’s and O’s below it. Immediately my mind started to wander. Who were Angela and Casey? Where had life taken them? Did they get as much joy out of the stories during THEIR childhood as I did in mine? And what about that loving grandma who found the perfect Easter gift. I hope life had treated her well too. I wondered where the book had traveled for more than thirty years, maybe found in a church bazaar, or a yard sale, or a used book store, or maybe relegated to an old and forgotten box in the attic. I wondered how it ended up in a pile of books for sick children to read while they waited to see the doctor. No matter, on this day, it wasn’t old and forgotten anymore. We finally saw the doctor, daughter and dad. She got the prescription for her medicine and we went on our way. Still the inscription nagged at me. So here I am with a simple note:
To Angela and Casey: we found the Peter Rabbit book grandma gave you that Easter in 1982. It is being well cared for and is still providing the same wonderful stories as it did when we all were kids. Today it soothed my little girl as we sat waiting to see her doctor. Thanks to your grandma for leaving you this book which brought back a whole lot of memories on a day at the doctor.
Much like Peter Rabbit, we came home and I tucked her in, and made a little spot of tea after.