I've posted a lot of smiling faces lately, and we've had some great times. And I am soaking it all in after some of the challenges in the past year. But don't get me wrong, life can still be messy and difficult! Life in a family that currently includes seven children living at home, mostly teenagers, means there are days where there is more hormonal drama going on than any reality show! A whole lotta drama! Add to that kids who have trauma backgrounds and you have some serious drama llama mama!
In the midst of all that drama, one thing teens need is to be reminded how much they are loved--especially kids who are still attaching. And they are never too old for picture books--even though they think they are! I was reminded of this when our granddaughter was visiting. I was reading her Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny, and by the time I was done I had four teenagers learning over and reminiscing about the book. The story is a great reminder of unconditional love.
When our older kids were in that 7-year-old "I'm running away from home!" stage, I read them The Runaway Bunny. In the case of our older adoptees, they also went through that developmental stage, albeit at older ages. Even though their bodies were bigger, I still pulled out the story and they felt the connection.
Like the mommy in the story, I was never one to tell any of my kids that I would help them pack. Instead, I reassured them that I loved them, I will always love them, and I will always go after them if they run away. In those conversations I would go into detail of ALL the people I would call if they were missing. In no time at all we would probably have all our family, all our friends, all their friends, our whole community, the police, the Ghostbusters, James Bond, and The National Guard looking for them!
That was really what they needed to hear, at any age, when they were tantruming over not being able to have ice cream for dinner. And it was often what I needed to hear when I was ready to tantrum and scream at that same dinner. First, time to calm down. And then, time to read The Runaway Bunny. And in the end my child would usually feel just like the little bunny in the book and say, "Aw shucks! I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny."
Other favorites over the years have been Love You Forever (can anyone ever get to the end of the book without crying?), Guess How Much I Love You, and I Love You the Purplest.
Children's books help a child learn to love, and know they are loved, at every age.