Recently, I started re-reading the Ramona books with my 8-year-old daughter. I have revisited many books from my childhood but I was so surprised to find how well those books have stood the test of time. I could not believe how much I still remembered after 35 years – and also how much I could still learn from them.
I was a shy kid who found her best friends in books. I loved to read and Ramona was one of my favorites. I identified with her feelings of being the little sister, the pest. I related to having a dad who lost his job and a having a very bossy older sister. I even had an old cat that might have been a stand in for Picky Picky.
As a mom, I watched the wheels turn in my own little Ramona’s brain as she identified with all the things Ramona went through and suddenly I realized something. While she is relating to Ramona, I now read this through the eyes of Ramona’s mother. I felt her exasperation as she looked at the pile of toothpaste Ramona squeezed into the sink. I felt her exhaustion as she discovered at dinner time she had forgotten to plug in the crockpot. And I laughed with her when really, all you can do is laugh at the temper tantrum occurring in front of you.
It gave me a whole new appreciation for Beverly Cleary’s writing, that she could write in such a way to touch both parents and kids. Her ability to show both perspectives is truly unmatched. And I hope to learn from Mrs. Quimby, just as I learned from Ramona. She moves through parenting with an ease that I envy. She rolls with the punches of a husband’s job loss, her re-entry into the workforce and raising two very different kids at very difficult ages. She shows she loves her kids even though she is tired and cranky and makes mistakes. It is a master class of grace under pressure.
This trip down memory lane has inspired me to search out other favorites from my childhood. I may even do a full blog series on parenting lessons from my childhood! I urge you all to revisit childhood favorites and this time around, take all of the parenting lessons you can get.