This post is a part of my “Board Book Beauty – Savoring the small as I read to my toddler” series. To see all of the posts in the series, go here.
After Friday’s heavy rain, Jonathan and Katie ventured down to the creek at the bottom of the hill on Saturday morning, a rough wooden boat in hand. Fun as it was, when they came in to sip hot chocolate and to warm up by the fire, it wasn’t the boat I heard about. Llamas were the topic of the day: how Katie got to pet one of those that board on our property, how it ran away, how Daddy had told her there were some books about llamas and now she wanted to read them.
Here I must pause, and admit to you something that may cause you to question my parenting credentials: with the exception of Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too, which I read to my niece a few years back, and a little-remembered board book I picked up from the library a few months ago, I had never read any of Anna Dewdney’s very popular Llama Llama series. Katie didn’t even know what they were.
Well, until her dad mentioned them. Then she knew about them, and wanted to read them.
Once Katie gets an idea in her head, it can be difficult to deter her from it. A library run, then, was essential. We came home with a large stack of books, the most important of which were Llama Llama Red Pajama.
I can see why Llama Llama and his adventures became popular: the story is told in a fun, easy rhyming scheme, and it relates directly to what many kids experience.
Poor Baby Llama is uncertain about being alone before bed. “Llama llama red pajama in the dark without his mama. Eyes wide open, covers drawn … What if Mama Llama’s GONE? Llama llama red pajama weeping, wailing for his mama. Will his mama ever come? Mama Llama, Run Run RUN!”
Mama comes to reassure him, of course. “Little Llama, don’t you know, Mama Llama loves you so? Mama Llama’s always near, even if she’s not right here.”
And, though I am not exactly in the target demographic for this book, I find myself identifying with the little guy, understanding his distress.
For I, too, sit in the dark with my eyes open wide, wondering if the One who is supposed to protect me, the One who is supposed to protect the world, is gone. Weeping and wailing for the Middle East, for the conflicts between law enforcement and the communities they are supposed to serve, for the mess of an election in this country, for the millions of unborn lives lost every year, for the brokenness we’ve inherited and created. Will our Savior ever come?
But even as I sit in the dark, waiting, the answer comes. It’s hidden, disguised, nearly impossible to see unless I force myself to look, but I find it in the encouraging smile of a friend, in the glorious red of an autumn leaf, in the sweet squeeze of a two-year-old’s hug. All too often, my questioning heart doesn’t think it’s enough – I believe, help my unbelief – but the message is there, just the same.
Be patient. Don’t you know I love you so? I’m always near, always here.
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