The Power of Panda Cake

I’m still new to the blogging space, but I feel pretty comfortable making the following assumption… If you’re reading this, then reading is something you enjoy.  I’m going to take this a step further and say that if you do, in fact, love reading, then there are people in your past that introduced you to the magic and power of books.  In the spirit of Mother’s Day, and the role that my own mom (and dad) played in my love of reading, today’s post is dedicated to the adults around the world who are helping children love to read.  These children, the future writers, bloggers, and changers-of-the-world are lucky to have you.

My three kids and I spent the night at my parents’ house last week while the Mister was away on business.  The kids enjoyed the change of pace and toys, and I relished in having an extra couple sets of hands to help out.  Needless to say, it was a great night.  When it came time for their bedtime story, I declared it “Mommas Choice” and started looking through the closet of my childhood bedroom for just the right book. There was no shortage of sweet choices but pushed to the back, a faded yellow spine caught my eye and tugged at my heart.  Panda Cake (R. Seidler 1978) I can’t say that I remember why it was one of my favorites, but I knew the sweet rhythm of the story and the black and white illustrations would have the same effect on me as an adult as it did when I was a child.

I celebrated my discovery in the way that you would greet an old friend you meet unexpectedly and hurried to show my mom.  She celebrated too, declaring it one of her all-time favorites. There was a bit of a friendly dispute as to who would get to read it to my kids, but she conceded and asked if she could join us. My children had no way of knowing how much this story meant to me, and I had no way of knowing how powerful the next couple of minutes would be.  The five of us snuggled together on the floor, and I started reading, immediately losing myself into its familiar embrace.  The story came back to me instantly and I read with a smile, but when I heard my mom quietly reciting all the words to the story, my eyes began to water. She was sitting across from me, she couldn’t see the pages and there’s a good chance it had been 20+ years since she read it to one of her own daughters, but she didn’t miss a beat.

The book that meant a lot to me as a child now means the world to me as an adult.  In the moments, it took us to read the book, the joy of reading transcended generations.  My own children were experiencing one my most treasured memories from my childhood, first hand.  Panda Cake’s magic extended to my children, and I caught my daughter re-reading it and reciting lines for the next two days.  The significance of the Panda Cake moment will remain tucked into my heart for years to come.  It is why I write.  It is the very reason I am so passionate about writing stories that children will love.  I want children everywhere to experience the power of moments like that.

To Mothers everywhere; I hope your day is joyful, playful and restful.  I hope all of you reading have a chance to celebrate the women who are important to you; mothers, grandmothers, godmothers and the like.  If today is tinged with sadness for you, I hope your heart is filled with the love of the woman you may be missing and the peace that comes with knowing her love.  Thanks for sharing a piece of your day with me.  Stay tuned for my Wednesday post when I get back to the grind of writing and talk more about my Dummy.

 

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

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