We read Goodnight Moon almost every night when my son was small. To this day, it is fresh in my memory. I can recite every word and recall the feeling of the toddler nestled in my lap as he fell asleep.
“In the great green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon…”
I found the words beautiful and soothing each night. Like the Hail Mary for Catholics, repeating these lines from Brown’s most famous book was like a prayer for young parents. Rather than delivering forgiveness, Goodnight Moon brought us peace after a long day, a segue between taking care of our kids and taking care of ourselves, a knowledge that we did our best for them that day and would be ready to face tomorrow.
My son would nod off in the middle of the story each night but rather than putting the book aside, I would continue the recitation of the lines until the end.
I recently gave the book to a new parent. While they thanked me for the gift, I felt this love and this need bubbling up and wanted to shake them by the shoulders and explain how this simple story would change them. Instead I just smiled and hoped that they will find that out on their own.
Happy birthday, Margaret Wise Brown.