I think there are certain things in life that everyone of every age should do on a more regular basis.
You know, like read Dr. Seuss books.
I went over to my brother’s/sister-in-law’s house Sunday to hang out with my niece, Olivia. She’s the most adorable human ever (this is fact, not opinion). She’s currently going through a crying stage, and homegirl sure can cry A LOT. I don’t know how babies can cry so much and for so long and not become completely exhausted. When I cry hard for more than maybe two minutes, I’m physically and emotionally drained. The rest of the day might as well not exist.
My brother and I both tried holding her and getting her to calm down, and then he suggested I read to her because sometimes she stops during story time. I liked that idea, so I went and grabbed Green Eggs and Ham, the book my sister bought for Olivia. She even wrote a sweet note in the front for Olivia to read when she’s able, so I made sure to read that to her before starting the book.
And then a miracle occurred.
There was silence. There was peace. There was a serenity that came over her precious little face. She closed her eyes as she listened intently (I’m convinced that’s what she was doing) to each word about the main character telling Sam-I-Am how much he hates a food he’s never tried.
I’m going to tell you something true: I needed Seuss’ words that day just as much as Olivia did.
Maybe it’s the rhyming. Maybe it’s the innocence. Maybe it’s the weirdness of green food not being so weird. Maybe it’s the life lesson of giving something unfamiliar a chance. Maybe it’s the hopeful reality that people really can change. Maybe it’s the example of someone not giving up on a friend. Maybe it’s the combination of all of those things that makes this book magical in so many ways.
For Olivia, it provided a comfort that allowed her to escape her fit of tears. For me, it provided fond memories and the reminder that you can still remain positive when you’re constantly having negative things thrown your way. I know a lot of people like to look at it from the unnamed guy’s perspective and the idea of keeping an open mind to things you’ve never tried, but I really like that Sam-I-Am because he never gives up on his friend. I mean, Sam-I-Am could easily walk away after the first time no-name homeboy rejects his green food, but I think Sam-I-Am knows deep in his heart that his friend needs him to be there for him and continue to encourage him.
So he doesn’t walk away—he stays.
He is so nice about it, too. He keeps suggesting different places and with what different animals that one can eat green eggs and ham. He doesn’t get frustrated. He doesn’t raise his voice or show impatience like his buddy. He doesn’t say anything negative. He simply stays upbeat, fully believing there will be a successful outcome.
And he’s right.
I wish I could be more like that Sam-I-Am sometimes. When life has you down, it’s easy to stay down. It can be difficult to find the positive things about a situation that has negativity constantly in your face. I looked down at the sleeping Olivia, and I realized that we all have our own Sam-I-Ams in our lives—those people who are there for us when we need them the most and pull us back to our feet when we’ve fallen down. They’re the ones we sometimes try to push away, but they don’t actually go anywhere—they stay. They know we need them, and they don’t walk away. Olivia and I needed that reminder that day.
Seuss may not have been an actual doctor, but he sure knew how help heal a hurting heart.