Honey, I Love

September 29, 2022 | Ayejah I. Powell, Guest Blogger

When my mom asked me if there were a book from childhood that helped me navigate something difficult or that influenced me, my immediate response was, “There are lots!” As I thought more about it, I reflected with a wide grin and warm feelings just how much my parents reading to me as a child meant. And, they read to me A LOT.

I lived with both my mom and dad but in separate households. Even though they had me pretty young, they knew how important being a good reader was, so they surrounded me with books. They were both avid readers, and each home had heavy-laden bookshelves. I had my own shelves at both places, and they were where I found amazing adventures, beautiful poems, deep laughs, and lots of love. 

One of my absolute favorites books was the autographed copy of Honey, I love by Eloise Greenfield that Daddy brought back from a work trip. I just remember loving how the words were arranged and how animated my parents were when reading it to me. I didn’t know at the time how important that one children’s book would become to my adult self.

The year my first sibling was born when I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be close & be a part of her daily life, so I moved to Missouri where my dad had moved after getting married. I got homesick very quickly. Mommy knew this would happen. She always put a note in my lunch box, and knowing I’d come to expect that, she sent me to St. Louis with a box of 180 notes she’d written in advance so that I was sure to have one every single school day.

The notes, though they were a connection to her and home, didn’t do as much for the homesickness as the arrival one day of a box from North Carolina that held my precious copy of Honey, I Love. It meant everything to me! I felt so close to home. Being read to by my parents was like getting a hug from them, and when I was missing my mom the most, pulling Honey, I Love out of that box was like being wrapped in her arms.

I am 30 now, on my own for quite some time, and I live hundreds of miles away from my mom. I miss her with the same intensity I did when I was that 11 year-old, basking in the delight of receiving such an important slice of home.

I still read poems from that same copy of Honey, I Love. When I do, the feelings of love and protection I felt as a child wash over me, and I know that books we love can be our connection to people we love. This is one of the many gifts I am ever grateful to my parents for giving me.

Ayejah I. Powell