Someday, Mason will understand...
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If you follow thesomedayroom on Instagram, you may have seen that I have a highlight called "reads," and each story in this highlight is #masonsreads. In the mornings, I read the first three books that Mason brings to me. There are days we read the same books over and over again. There are days we read one new book or even two new books of the three that he hands to me. On occasion, I'll pick out one book, and then Mason picks out the other two. Throughout the rest of the day, we read plenty of other stories, but I adore our morning storytime. It's simply a pleasant start to our day.
There is one book, in particular, that means the absolute most to me. It's called No Matter What by Debi Gliori. It's the first book that I ever bought for Mason after he was born. I was at a store that had a small shelf of children's books along the check-out line. I'd glance at this shelf throughout my pregnancy but would tell myself to hold off buying a book until Mason was born. Now with him officially here, No Matter What was the first book I took off the shelf, skimmed through it, and purchased it. I decided that I'd bring it to the NICU the following day. And on that following day, I remember holding the book up to Mason in his incubator and proudly saying, "Look what mama got for you!" Then I sat in my chair next to his incubator and read the story to Mason for the very first time. Of course, I cried on the last few pages of the book.
As I said, I had skimmed through the book in the store, so I didn't actually know the end until I read it to Mason. And my god did that part hit home for me and my little one. The story has two characters, Large (the parent) and Small (the child). It begins with Small essentially throwing a tantrum and claiming that he doesn't think Large loves him at all. Small gives Large some scenarios throughout the story, and Large continues to say that she loves him no matter what. Towards the end, Small asks Large:
"But what about when you're far away? Does your love go too, or does it stay?"
*cue all my mama tears* I'd remind Mason each night before we left the NICU that if there was anything that he needed - we were not far and would be back as fast as we could.
I would read this book several times throughout the days and nights we spent with Mason in the NICU. One day, I opened the bottom drawer of his incubator (where we kept a few of his belongings), and the book wasn't there. I gasped and had an internal moment of a total freak-out. Nurse Donna must've seen me looking around his station with such worry. She came over and said that she had just restocked Mason's diapers, wipes, etc., so she'd put the book in a Ziploc bag for us. She handed me the bag as I let out a big sigh of relief and thanked her. I realized then just how important this book was to me.
Each time I read this book to Mason, I felt like a "normal" new mama. I thought that reading was a typical and routine activity that a parent does with her child. I remember my parents reading to me all the time as a child, and perhaps that's why I still love reading to this day. While sitting in the NICU was nowhere near anything I could've anticipated; the act of reading this book to Mason soothed me (and I imagine it soothed him too). It was a reminder that while he was in the NICU and matters were out of my control, I could still do something for my baby. On the day of Mason's discharge from the NICU, I triple checked our bag to reassure myself that the book was packed.
Do you have a book that's special to you and your little one?
To someone else, this is just another children's book with an endearing story, everything rhymes, and cute classic illustrations. But when I look at this book, I recall all the times sitting and reading it next to Mason in his incubator. I see Nurse Donna, coming over to me with the book in a Ziploc bag, easing my nerves. I see B reading it to Mason for the first time, too, standing next to his incubator and holding up the pictures as he read. I've read it while Mason was in his bassinet, little rocker, and bouncer in our old apartment. I've read it to him while he crawled around me in our current apartment. And now, I read it to Mason as he sits in my lap during our storytime.
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Learn more about Mason's days in the NICU: