SO important to remember…

Yesterday as I sat outside to get away from the roar of the drying equipment I witnessed the most peaceful sight a birdwatcher can enjoy. Over my flood damaged oh so noisy loud home a pair of Hawks were riding the thermals. They were beautiful and as I was deciding I wouldn’t be able to tell what kind they were one turned ever so slightly to allow the sun to shine through his bright red tail feathers. What a sight Red Tail Hawks enjoying the beauty of the day in complete trust in the God who created them!!! A reminder to me that I can too!!!

Why write Leo a book?

                Well I am sure most people would state that they have intelligent children.  I mean it is the nature of parenting to assume “Your” child is brilliant.  And while I concur with this, as it pertains to my “brilliant” offspring.  I must add on to this that if I have brilliantly intelligent children, (which as a mother I of course think I do), it must stand to reason that my grandchildren are indeed off the charts when it comes to intellect…  Well of course all this being said with a bit of “tongue in cheek” my little grandson Leo is bright.  Perhaps very bright would be correct, as he is not just the product of my daughter’s exceptional heredity, but also the magnificent gene set provided by the DNA from my son in law Ari.   Okay, okay enough already with the Grammy sided portrayal of my grandson Leo.  

When Leo was but 18 months old my daughter received as a “hand me down” the book “A Potty For Me” by Karen Katz.  This quite simply adorable book is a rhyming rendition of potty training from the child’s perspective, up to and including the occasional failure, and then the ultimate success.  Ending with success and the resounding chorus of “I’m so proud of me!”.   My grandson Leo after having this delightful poem read to him made up his mind that he wanted to “go” on the potty.  Now granted success was not overnight which is also the case in the book, but the book was the pivotal turning point in Leo’s mind for working toward his own “I’m so proud of me” moment. 

As I listened to my very pregnant daughter lament about her son not wanting to be a big brother, my mind went back to the brilliant success that was achieved by him after having been read a book.  All I kept thinking during the rest of my visit was what if he could be read a book about becoming a big brother.  Now I am sure there are many volumes out there on the topic, but as an avid bird watcher my thoughts went immediately to bluebird brood behavior.  I had always been fascinated by the aspect of bluebird fledgling behavior in that they sometimes stay to help their parents with subsequent broods. Sometimes even as they are themselves trying to woo a mate for their own brood making.     So, if it is good for bluebirds why not little boys? 

Many hours on the flight home and many after arriving home resulted in the story “Indigo Becomes a Big Brother”.  Now Leo’s birthday was only a few months away from this time, so it occurred to me that it might be an appropriate gift for the bright little guy.  Now I don’t have any marketing experience per se, but I knew I didn’t want to send my favorite little grandson (only grandson at this time) something he wouldn’t like.  So, some test analysis of my “product” needed to be done.  Now my dear friend Lucy was watching her 5-year-old granddaughter over the summer.  Part of the schedule of entertainment for said young lady was the occasional visit to my backyard pool for a dip to offset the scorching heat of a VA summers day.  During a Grandmother mandated break in the action I asked Mikayla if I could read her a story.   She enthusiastically agreed, and with some trepidation I read to my friend’s brilliant (of course) granddaughter the story I had written. 

She listened in rapt attention to the very end which was almost unbelievable to me, and then asked if I would read it again, again, again!!!  As this was a “marketing experiment” I had to ask her what she thought.  She in her very forthright and honest 5year old way said she loved it, but it really needed pictures.  And with that comment my plan of a gift for Leo hit the proverbial brick wall.   Please understand as I could successfully come up with a multitude of adjectives to describe the aforementioned hard, mortar divider of rooms.  I would never be able to draw it.  I thanked Mikayla for her time and then spent the next few days trying to figure out a way to provide illustration for my little book about one of the most beautiful creatures in all of God’s nature. 

Once in a while God sends you an idea like a bolt of lightening out of the sky, completely unexpected and surprising and yet perfect in every way.  If I as Leo’s Grammy were the writer of the book what if his Papap were the illustrator of this gift to celebrate his 4th birthday.   When my children were small my husband used to entertain them in church by letting them put marks on a piece of paper (usually the bulletin), and then with a few strokes turn those marks into something completely recognizable.  This entertainment was usually enough to keep the rest of the congregation from knowing just how restless my “perfect” children were in church.   So later that afternoon I asked him if he could draw me a bird.  On a scrap of paper (which I have kept) my hubby scratched the sweetest little bird you have ever seen (unless you have read our book).  I pitched the idea of him becoming an illustrator for Leo’s birthday present, and the rest is the proverbial history. 

We produced two books via the power point presentation aspect of our local big office store.  We gave one to darling Mikayla to take back with her to her home at the end of her visit.  We then wrapped one up for little Leo’s 4th birthday.  His response was exceedingly favorable, and the idea of mass publication was born.  I like to think his wonderful way of interacting with his little brother my second “exceedingly bright” grandson Toby, is due in part to having read about becoming a big brother in a book.  If even one other sibling is inspired to “… always remember that the love had to go somewhere and to just follow where it leads.”  I think our project will have been a success.