Glimpsing the heavenly beams flooding through the blinds, indicating the day’s arrival, my eyes widen. Lying underneath my pristine sheets, I stare at the intricate murals covering the towering ceiling. Despite my appearance of fresh lips and unwrinkled skin, I am in deep contemplation, awaiting the moment I believe to be the pinnacle of my existence.
I hear the brass knob rotate to my left. Instantly, I grin. Transitioning from the reclining position, I extend my legs upward to watch my mother saunter toward me across the white carpet.
Delighted by her angelic presence, I gaze at the diamonds around her neck and the glimmering rings encompassing her fingers. Noticing the leather bound text in her left hand, I stretch my fingers and touch her right palm. Immediately, I feel enlivened by this connection.
Withdrawing her hand, she unhooks the pearly bars that surround me in my usual slumber and lifts me gently. Beginning to sway in the wooden rocking chair beside my crib, she holds me in her exquisite arms.
“Every Sunday, I want you to read with me,” she whispers as her dark eyelashes tickle the tip of my ear. Giggling, I trace the embossed golden letters of the book’s weathered cover. “What does it say? Sound it out,” she says, placing her hands on top of mine.
“Like Goodnight Moon mommy?” I ask.
“Yes we sound out all our letters when reading, no matter which book we choose. Now, you know the first word.”
“The!” I exclaim, looking up for her approval.
“Good! What’s the next word?”
“You can do it! All together!”
“Almost! There is only one b. So we say Bible, not Bibble.”
Enthralled, I uncover the Old Testament and sound out any words that demand my attention. Although I cannot fully comprehend the passages, I am aware of the Catholic doctrine’s sanctity.
Supplementary to the Bible, my mother incorporated several classic children’s books into our Sunday reading sessions: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Eventually, I was able to recite the aforementioned stories, and my retention of the Creation of Adam improved tremendously. Literacy is a state of grace, and learning to read through the Bible enabled me to experience a familial rite of passage while achieving the ultimate salvation.