Nearly 20 years ago, at bedtime the night before Christmas Eve, my four-year-old daughter told me all about a present she was counting on Santa to bring her, but about which her mom and I had no idea. My father-in-law and I set out early the next morning and ended up spending the entire day Christmas Eve searching every toy store within 25 miles looking for a stuffed pink kitty cat. By 5:00pm all I’d managed to find was a white Beanie Baby cat and some red clothing dye, and I was crestfallen at the prospect of my little angel being disappointed on Christmas morning. As the sun was going down, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up some supplies for a party that evening, and I saw a little pink stuffed cat in a mom & pop card store that was just closing up for the night. When I told the proprietor my story, she wouldn’t let me pay her for the toy… simply hugged my neck and said, “Merry Christmas.” The next morning my daughter literally squealed with joy when she saw the little stuffed cat, and I was thankful beyond words at what seemed to me to be the miraculous kindness a complete stranger had shown me the night before. It wasn’t until an hour or so later, when I couldn’t get everyone to sit still for the family photo because they were all laughing and giggling and generally just having a ball together, that I stopped and took stock of the real miracles in my life.
“I had little pink kitty for my girl the next morn.
I thought about that little barn where grace was born.
I realized then the lesson we’re meant to share.
It’s not about the toys or the things we’re given.
It’s all about the stuff that makes life worth livin,
and if you’ve got love, you’re rich beyond compare.”
I’ve told that story around holiday dinner tables and at family gatherings for almost 20 years, and it always seems to resonate with parents of literally any age. Then last year, I wrote a song that basically tells that story – while taking a little artistic license at the end intended to inspire a some Christmas wonder in the hearts and minds of kids young and old. I posted the song on YouTube last December, and I got such nice comments from so many folks with heartwarming memories of similar circumstances in their own lives, I thought it would be cool to try to capture my story in a children’s book in a way that would enable parents and grandparents to sort of re-live these experiences with their own little ones during the holidays. The end result is a children’s picture book called “Little Pink Kitty Christmas.” Most of the story is told entirely by the lyrics of the song by the same name (available for purchase or stream through all major online outlets, or downloadable as a free mp3 file from www.littlepinkkittychristmas.com.
In a bit of a humorous twist of fate, I originally undertook this project as an untraditional marketing effort of sorts intended to try to draw in an audience for songs I’ve written. I’m much more an aspiring songwriter than I am an author, and initially I was hoping to use the book as a way to find folks who might like my music. But then, as I got into the project, started going through photo albums and working with an illustrator, it really turned into much more a labor of love than I had anticipated. Early in discussions with the illustrator, it occurred to me that it might be fun to include some little “nuggets” in the book for my kids, nieces and nephews to find—if we’re so blessed—when they read the book to their own kids some day. For example, in the opening illustration, the number and gender of my kids, nieces and nephews matches the number and gender of the kids gathered around “Pappa Pete” in that illustration, and their names appear on the stockings hung on the mantle. The little girl in the book is an amazing likeness of my daughter, and the family on the couch (left below) is my incredible illustrator’s rendition of the page concept, including some family photos, I sent her appearing just above it. If you’re interested in taking a little closer look at how the book creation process went, I catalogued the whole process in a blog at: www.thisislifesong.com
I would, of course, be thrilled to be able to retire and name a boat or a motorhome I buy with the book’s proceeds the “Little Pink Kitty,” the odds suggest I’ll most likely end up with a couple of book boxes in the garage, the contents of which I’ll be giving away for the next 20 Christmases. That’s OK. I had the best time making it, and my family will have a wonderful memento.
I hope you’ll consider buying a copy or two … or five for your own kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends’ kids, etc., or perhaps a Little Pink Kitty T-Shirt or other merchandise (Pink Kitty Stuff Tab above), but if you’d like a closer look at the book before you decide, you can watch a “sound on slide” video version of the entire story as a video at https://youtu.be/6hHsGp4n25w
Whatever you decide, please like and share liberally in your social media circles, and drop me a note on the contact page or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for stopping by, God Bless you and yours, and have a very Merry Christmas!