Growing up, I had two girls/women I absolutely idolized. They weren’t TV stars or singers. They grew up poor, left out, unpopular, and had tough times in life.
They were Laura (Little House on the Prairie) and Anne (of Green Gables).
I read their books until the spines broke and the pages started to fall out. At one point my sister and I had The Long Winter duct-taped so we could keep reading it. I have fond memories of pulling up the covers over me while reading how cold it was in Laura’s life – and it was 85 degrees in my world. I wanted my hair red like Anne’s so badly that I would sit out in the sun for hours hoping my red highlights would take over.
Those books shaped my life and views. They were my constant companions as we moved, my guide through the angst of being an awkward teenager, and my reassurance that different was okay.
I’ve waited forever to share those stories with my own children. Knowing that I probably didn’t start on them until I was about 8, I knew we had a while to go with Bella only being 4. She’s still a big fan of pictures, and her attention span needs that. Then I stumbled on the simplified version of Laura’s Little House on the Prairie books, with a cookbook, crafts, and paper doll set to go with. We are buying them book by book, but you can purchase the main ones as a set.
Being able to share with my daughter a peek into the life that changed mine is a pretty incredible feeling. We curl up in the evenings or before nap and learn about how children used to live. Hauling hay, chopping wood, playing with corn husk dolls. She’s taken out of her knowledge of how everyone lives, and sees how things used to be. We talk about hunting and baking. She wants to know why anyone would take a bath in a wooden tub — and after everyone else in the family was in the same water!
Somehow Laura’s words were more than entertaining to so many generations. They stirred that wistful longing for a time never to come again, while also reminding us how much we are blessed with now. We not only get to see how different things were, but how human emotions are always the same through the ages. Saying goodbye is sad. Mean people do mean things. Being a bully might make you end up as a main character in a series that no one forgets. ::cough, Nellie Olsen, cough::
I didn’t have to wait to share these with her in a way that I wanted to. We get to relive Laura’s adventures every day, on her level. Then when she’s ready — I have the whole set of Anne and Laura just waiting for her to read from cover to cover.
And a roll of duct tape.
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
More from Diana:
- The Joy of Buying Your Kid’s First Pet - we bought Bella a little surprise for her very own.
- 7 Ways to Encourage a Still-Needed Nap Time - she still naps on a daily basis. Here’s how to encourage your kid to at least take a quiet time.
- An Update on Nighttime Potty Training 3 Months Later - we quit doing this with Bella in October after it was a disaster. This is how it’s going now.
- Say #GoodNightRoozle: The Little Girl Who Draws Herself to Sleep - yay Roozle! This darling girl was on the Today show last week!