How I wonder where you are
Updated: Aug 3
I picked up a storybook to read to my three young children hoping they would enjoy it and learn a few things along the way. Turns out, we all did
Perhaps you have heard about the book, Wonder, a New York Times bestseller written by R.J. Palacio. A film followed in 2017 starring Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.
Wonder is a fictional story about a boy with facial differences and was inspired by an encounter the author and her son had with a boy with a craniofacial disorder.
I remember my mom telling me about this book when it was first published in 2012. I'm pretty sure she read it and bought it for my nephews to read.
My children, 6-year-old twin boys and a 7-year-old daughter, are now old enough to understand the jist of it and so I picked it up for a summer read. Little did I realize it would be the perfect book to read here and there throughout a quarantine summer.
My kiddos were fascinated with the story... a story chock full of life lessons about personal challenges, friendship, growth, kindness, bullying and decision-making.
Here are a few takeaways I just had to share...
“There are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie,” she said, looking at me. “But I truly believe, and Daddy believes that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other...”
I hope my children remember this story when they come across others who may be struggling - in any way.
I hope my children find the good, learn from the good and be the good. And if they are bad (sigh), they learn from that too.
I hope they resist the bully rather than be the bully or cave in to one, cause Lord knows bullies exist in all ages and stages of life.
How I wonder where you are
“It’s so strange how one day you can be on this earth, and the next day not. Where did she go? Will I really ever see her again or is that a fairy tale?”
As a former news anchor, I'm used to reading tough stuff out loud, but this part of the book sure struck me. It struck me because my mom recently passed away following a hard-fought cancer battle.
And as I was reading this chapter to the kiddos, a chapter about the loss of a grandmother, my tears fell and I just couldn’t stop them. All three of my children sat there and stared at me for a moment. They quickly said - with unsure smiles - “Please stop crying, Mom!”
Seeing Mom cry was something my kids hadn’t experienced before. I’ve gotten choked up in front of them before, but I guess I’ve hid my falling tears and crazy cry emotions from them as long as they can remember.
Even moms cry. It's okay to cry. Don't hold back those tears, I tell them.
Around my children, my mom is still so present and spoken of and referred to and remembered... with joy and laughter and all good things.
But...as the story asks, where did she go?
Will I ever see her again?
I’d like to think so.
I believe I will. I hope I will. I’m pretty sure that beautiful soul of hers rose up to the skies... and that’s where I see her now... in the sunrise and the sunset and in the graceful things that fly.
MR. BROWNE'S PRECEPTS
I wish we all could have a little Mr. Browne in our lives.
Mr. Browne is Auggie's teacher and in class, he constantly shares precepts - otherwise known as mottos and rules about really important things.
"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."
The book shares wonderful messages we all could use (also check out the companion book, 365 Days of Wonder, that shares more about Auggie's tale and many more precepts).
We learn from precepts. We learn from people. We learn from experiences. We learn from storybooks. Collect your kiddos and read on!
"Just follow the day and reach for the sun!"
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