The first book I remember reading by myself and sobbing as I read: Charlotte's Web.
We lived in Farmers Branch. I was 7. It was a Saturday, and I was sprawled on the covers of my twin bed, engrossed in this wonderful story about Fern and a pig and a spider. I fell in love with the characters.
And then the spider died.
Oh, it was heartbreaking. It's been heartbreaking every time I've read it since. (As a writer, I'm impressed with how E.B. White makes us feel so strongly about barnyard animals and arachnids.)
Yesterday was movie and popcorn day in Katie's first-grade class. The class had earned the privilege after filling its compliment jar to the very top.
While Katie was still in chess club after school, her wonderful teacher, Shannon, called me.
"We watched Charlotte's Web today," she said.
"Oh, no," I answered, knowing what was next.
Shannon told me that Katie enjoyed the movie until the end. And then she cried -- not a mild cry but a really strong, dramatic, sincere cry.
Shannon comforted Katie. She told her that it is so sad that Charlotte dies, but it's also wonderful how all of Charlotte's babies live and how those babies carry with them all of Charlotte's good qualities.
She told Katie that it is the same with her Daddy. That it is so sad that he died but that she and Cooper carry with them all of Steve's good qualities.
I am consistently reminded of the gracious, loving, nurturing folks who have been placed in our lives, and I am so thankful.