I grew up surrounded by books. My bedroom had bookshelves filled with Dr. Seuss, Hans Christian Anderson, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Beatrix Potter.
Every night for years, my mother would read to me, and it was my favorite moment.
And it didn’t matter if I had heard the story before, what mattered was hearing it again.
What mattered was entering into the world and the characters, who I knew all by heart.
Have you ever felt this?
I was a voracious reader, and as I entered adolescence, I started graduating to my parents’ bookshelves to take in the big hardcover books and immerse myself there.
The children books started to get packed away, as I fell in love with Isaac Asimov, Anne Rice, and Michael Crichton.
But my mother held on to them, as she did the meaningful toys of my childhood.
In the two weeks before I got married the first time, at the tender age of 22, I came home and went through all these boxes, setting aside what I wanted to have in my own home.
And then I moved to New York City.
My dream of living in a house stayed alive, but I was more focused on my performing career, and knew my parents’ attic would hold these treasures.
As the years dragged on, and I remained living in small apartments with no storage, it became a joke in my family. My mother spoke of the day she would finally empty the attic, and I laughed along….but, an aching began.
I wanted a family, and my ultimate vision was to move out of the city and actually live in a house. One where I could have these precious memories, one where I would be creating my own family to read to.
And then my marriage went up in a ball of flame, and I found myself living in the smallest apartment yet. It was a sanctuary of healing, but yet again, no room to store my belongings.
We didn’t joke about the childhood boxes for many years, until the day I called my parents to say,
I’m in love.
And my initial move to an actual house in New Jersey lit my mother right up. She couldn’t wait to load up their car and bring everything down.
But after a year of living in this home, I knew I needed to leave. This wasn’t my forever home, and I would soon discover the home was actually making me sick from mold.
So, the boxes remained in their attic.
Until last week.
When my parents came to my new home for the first time.
It was an emotional moment. My family knows my journey to this home more intimately than anyone, and they wept tears of joy to see this magical space, knowing the deep significance. And as I watched my father unload the car and place all the boxes in our garage, I knew this was going to be the first time I was opening them in 22 years.
Did I even remember what was inside?
As I settled in to open a bin, I found myself staring at a bounty of books. And it was when I came across the thin and colorful manuscripts my whole body warmed.
I HAD forgotten about these.
Written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Robin James, the Serendipity Book collection.
And each one, I remembered right away! I looked at each cover and felt I was reconnecting with old friends. And that aching that had begun years ago was loosening.
I grabbed the whole pile to bring in with me, and found myself reading the story of Trafalgar True. As soon as I opened the first page, I began to cry, a very young part of me, so elated and joyous to be reunited with her books.
Far, far away, in a time of dreams and make-believe there was a small curious country called Kurium. What made Kurium very special was that right in the middle of the meadow lived a most magnificent, winged dragon called Trafalgar True.
He would sit and quietly watch the world go ’round. Trafalgar loved every living thing and to him, watching, was the same as doing.
Trafalgar would watch the flock of birds as they flew from tree to tree. He would watch a turtle or two as they crawled across the meadow. But most of all, he loved to watch the furry little creatures called Kith and Kin.
Re-reading this story, it was as if no time had passed. I remembered Trafalgar’s courageous act that saved the land of Kurium, and the lives of the Kith and Kin.
In anticipation, I picked up each book in kind, and remembered,
The bright green gull named Jake O’Shawnasey who didn’t believe he could fly
Snaffles, the gruff bird who had never heard of feelings before
The newly born flying horse Flutterby who was searching to learn where she belonged
The Gnome from Nome, who went on a quest to learn how to be warm from the inside out…
And as I stared at this bounty before me, I realized I was looking at my beginning.
I was looking at the reason I write.
I was looking at the seed that was planted and nourished year after year that brought me to this moment.
That brought me to writing you.
My deep love of story.
And as with every Serendipity Book, a story that HELPS.
A story that connects us to our hearts, to our humanity, to our well being.
A story that brings joy.
It had been tucked away in my parent’s attic for decades, just waiting to be rediscovered. And as I turned each page now, I realized it never left.
These stories had been in me all along, and had been the driving force that took me to New York, that led me to being an Artist, and brought me to creating my own company where I could help others to put their voices and stories out with the same confidence.
These stories were my beginning.
The beginning of a life long path to affirm what truly lights you up.
So, I wanted to ask,
What is bringing you joy right now?
What brings a smile to your face and warmth to your being?
In these times, it is so easy to put away our joy, especially as we deal with so much fear and uncertainty.
It can be easy to box up what makes us happy in fear it will be damaged, especially those younger and more tender parts of ourselves.
But, what if you took a trip to your attic today?
What would you find in the boxes you tucked away in happier times?
What would be in the bins of your youth when you were carefree and so connected to your passions and dreams?
Perhaps you will find your beginnings there, the seeds that are calling to be nourished.
And like the timing of my parents’ visit, what if this is exactly when it needs to happen?
Reminding you of your dreams and passions that never left.
A sweet reunion with the depth of who you are.
The power of your joy.
Now, that’s Serendipity.