One of my favorite picture books is called The Garden is Open by Pamela Pease. I love it because it gives me a chance to talk to Sarah about something that I love. It's a sweet story about two sisters who spend many years planning, planting, and caring for a garden. Each year, when the garden reaches its peak, they allow neighbors, friends, and strangers to experience the beauty they've created.
The best part for me is that the garden is in Chapel Hill, just down the road from us. For the second year, we took the kids to see their garden. As we drove, Sarah "read" the story, as she does with books she knows well. She remembers the words we've read to her and connects them to the pictures. "One morning in early spring, a butterfly resting in the dogwood tree was the first to see a sprout come up . . ."
We wandered around the garden, more quickly than I would have liked, but wandered nonetheless, and then sat down in the front yard to read their story. The sisters' granddaughter, whose son is the same age as mine, stepped out. I hesitated, but then asked if we could get our book signed. Graciously, we were invited in. Once inside, I noticed that Sarah had an inchworm crawling on her arm. "It tickles," she said and smiled. She let it crawl down her arm while we talked to the sisters. They told us about the garden, about their lives, and about how the book came to be. I listened and I did my best to thank them, and then we headed back outside. Sarah then set the inchworm on a leaf outside. It all came together in that perfect moment. And I am so grateful.