Today we’re excited to introduce our author Teri McKinley. She wrote My Mama and Me with her mother, Crystal Bowman. Teri’s post embodies why we do what we do at Tyndale Kids…and why every parent I know loves reading to their child–the benefits will last a life time! Check out her post and share your thoughts. You can also visit Teri on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tericbowman.
As the daughter of a children’s author, it’s no surprise that reading was a big part of my childhood. I remember snuggling next to my mom as she read stories to me every night at bedtime. This was my favorite part of the day. My imagination was engaged as we read chapter books that painted vivid literary pictures. My faith was deepened as we explored biblical lessons that taught me about God’s great love. But beyond the literature, I cherished bedtime reading because it was uninterrupted time with my mom. As the youngest of three it was a special gift to receive her undivided attention, if even for fifteen minutes. More often than not, story time turned into conversation time when I could ask my mom the lingering questions of my day. Sometimes they were silly—Can I have ice-cream on my waffle for breakfast? And sometimes they were serious—What does God want me to be when I grow up? This time together laid the foundation for a close-knit relationship with my mom that has deepened into adulthood.
As a married woman, I reflected on those precious bedtime moments with my mom and realized how crucial they were. Through our reflections came the dream to write a book together that was designed for mothers and their children. We saw the impact that books had in our own family. We used literature to grow closer to God and closer to each other. It became our passion to help other families obtain the same gift we had been given. We wanted to encourage faith conversations in the home. We experienced first-hand the importance of parents equipping their children with the truth. Our vision turned into a book proposal and our writing adventure began!
It’s hard to fully describe the experience of writing with my mom. Amazing and surreal are words that come to mind. So do challenging, humbling, and growing. I have always looked up to my mom as a woman and as a Christian, but it was inspiring to admire her as a professional. To see her experience and point of view; to truly grasp for the first time the depth of her talent and her love for the written word. In addition to our relationship as mother and daughter, we became colleagues. I am sure that the experience was quite different for my mom than her previous collaborations. Never before had she seen a co-author roll her eyes at an idea she presented. Our editing sessions could quickly turn into mother-daughter tug-of-war. We debated word choices, commas, and literary rhythm as if they were boyfriends, curfews, and prom dresses. But our relationship also gave us the opportunity to be vulnerable and honest in our writing. We laughed a lot. We encouraged each other. We had a reason to talk daily and shorten the thousands of miles between us. My Mama and Me was richer because it had both of us in it.
I know my mom and I were unusually blessed to write a book together. It’s not something that many parents and children get to do. But I believe that other families can find the same closeness we cherish by simply spending quality time together. Reading every day is a great place to start. It’s incredible how a few minutes every day can add up to years of a close relationship. No matter how many cheerios are on the floor or how many emails go unanswered, I encourage you to snuggle with your little ones and read today. Your children might not remember the book you read, but they will never forget the story of their childhood that you are writing together.
Learn more about My Mama and Me.