Reading has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have always loved the Berenstain Bears and Corduroy, the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins, and even Nicholas Sparks in my adult years. In fact, reading was one of the things that brought Kyle and I together. We often exchanged books while we were dating, and then talked about them over dinner.
Shortly after Grace was born, Kyle brought out two of his favorite childhood books, "The Monster at the End of this Book" and "Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree," both featuring some of his favorite Sesame Street characters. His mom told me she must have read those books a million times to him growing up.
We were delighted that Grace loved Elmo as a baby. She would light up anytime we saw him on television, and always had one to snuggle in the days before she adopted a pink puppy, named Bruce.
One year for Easter, we were surprised to find that "The Monster at the End of this Book," has a sequel featuring Elmo, called "Another Monster at the End of this Book," which happily made its way into Grace's Easter basket.
"The Monster at the End of this Book," which was originally published in 1971, features Lovable, Furry Old Grover, albeit a bit scruffier than he appears in the sequel, which was published in 1996.
As the first book opens, Grover is terrified when he reads the title of the book, and is scared to find which monster is at the end of the book. Throughout the book, he works hard to keep the reader from turning pages and getting closer to the monster. Even though he ties the pages together, then nails them, and finally glues them, persistent readers will find their way to the last page, only to discover that Grover is the monster at the end of the book.
As the second book opens, Grover is once again scared of the monster at the end of the book, but Elmo seems excited to find the monster. Grover tries his best to keep Elmo from getting to the end of the book, but readers eventually find their way to discover Grover and Elmo are the monsters at the end of the book.
Grace especially likes when you read with excitement in your voice about Grover being scared, and she likes to help turn the pages, and always smiles when we find the end of the story.
While I don't think Grace understands enough around her to be scared or have fear, these books teach us a lot of good lessons about facing your fears. While Grover is scared of the monster, he keeps going and finds there was nothing to be scared of after all.
Personally, I'm rather scared of snakes and spiders, and sometimes heights. And while I don't always face those fears daily, I know that I could if I had to, and that I would be stronger for it.
My biggest fears have nothing to do with scales or furry insects, but rather facing a time in my life without Grace. And while someday that may be a reality, it's definitely not today. And living in fear, means that I would miss so many wonderful things happening each and every day. By facing my fear, I have a chance to enjoy every minute I have with Grace. Being scared to lose her doesn't add one day to the amount of time I have with her, and I don't want to miss a single second of being her mom.
Much like Grover, I keep finding my way along the journey by facing my fears and moving forward. Fears can be tough. They can keep us from remembering the things that are most important in our lives. But take it from me, and from Grover, when you face your fear, you find that it makes you stronger.