* * * * *
There, as I sat on the floor of the storeroom, my soul wandered down a long, dark, silent valley, and met the souls of the mothers of all countries, who had come there, like me, to mourn ... and our tears were very hot, and very bitter ... for we knew that it was the Valley of Lost Childhood!
Nothing is lost that our memories hold,
Nothing forgotten that once we knew;
And to-day a boy with curls of gold
Is running my fond heart through and through—
In and out and round and round—
And I find myself laughing without a sound
At the funny things he said that time
When life was one glad nursery rhyme.
It should not be so hard for mothers to give up their children. We should grow accustomed to it, for we are always losing them. I once had a curly-haired baby with eyes like blue forget-me-nots, who had a sweet way of saying his words, and who coined many phrases which are still in use in my family. Who is there who cannot see that “a-ging-a-wah” has a much more refreshing sound than “a drink of water”? And I am sure that nobody could think of a nicer name for the hammer and nails than a “num and a peedaw.” At an incredibly early age this baby could tell you how the birdies fly and what the kitty says.
All mothers who have had really wonderful children—and this takes us all in—will understand how hard it is to set these things down in cold print or even to tell them; for even our best friends are sometimes dull of heart and slow of understanding when we tell them perfectly wonderful things that our children did or said. We all know that horrible moment of suspense when we have told something real funny that our baby said, and our friends look at us with a dull is-that-all expression in their faces, and we are forced to supplement our recital by saying that it was not so much what he said as the way he said it!