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Books in a Basket

It rests hidden next to my prayer chair, in the same exact location it has been for over twenty years. A silent, stoic monument, seeking no attention.

It is a tenant that lives rent free in my bedroom whom I cannot seem to part with, as my eyes become damp with salt water when considering its relocation.

This magic container displays a lint collection in its corners circa 2002. I am certain it also has dog hair from Bear, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge over a decade ago, while I was pregnant with Charlotte.

But the most important treasure it holds? Books.

Children's books stacked in a knick knack paddy whack, Jenga, sorta way. This basket serves as a reminder of a chapter filled with so much joy and in what seems like one full breath, has now come to a close.

This is how mamas are hard wired: memories etched deep into our veins indicating where our children begin and we end. I bet if you cut open any mom right now (with her consent, of course) you would discover multiple infinity symbols - one for each baby she birthed, swaddled, and bathed with wet nakey buns that she chased with feety pajamas down the hallway.

As wobbly toddlers, my girls would scamper from their bedrooms towards this basket, climbing into my lap for The Very Hungry Caterpillar 1,000 times in a row. Their rebel cry, “Again Mama, again”.

By the time my girls started preschool, I thought ‘Wow, this is fun!’…UNTIL they were prematurely awakened from their afternoon nap by a barking dog (I’m looking across the Rainbow Bridge at you, Bear).

If you have raised people you know that tired 3 year olds are downright terrifying. Seeking asylum from their cranky tantrums, I would hide until the girls would enter back into their bodies. Often, a quiet calm would hug the air, and I would find my children, on a self-imposed timeout, with a book grasped in pudgy fingers next to this basket.

As time marched on, the basket suddenly had competition: Barbies, Legos and bikes took over. But like a solid friend who holds your hair back after a long night, the basket remained Home Base for bedtime stories.

And now? This basket is like a memorial honoring the five humans who spent countless hours next to it, and the mama who cannot seem to part with its contents.

The Giving Tree taught us about compassion and healthy boundaries. The Very Hungry Caterpillar showed us that transition is inevitable and that toddlers love repetition. But one of my favorites was how Ferdinand the Bull reminded us to just be ourselves and stopping to smell the flowers is the key to life.

This basket that holds these books and memories patiently like she always has, and always will.

If you're a mama and you keep things "just because", me too.

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