The April 29 Experiment

#sol21- May 4, 2021

Do you have some author crushes where you are just sure if you met in person you would be good friends? I think some people make everybody feel like they would be a good friend, so that may be a part of it. Amy Krause Rosenthal is one of those people for me. Her picture books are full of voice and quirky. In March of 2017 she wrote an essay for The New York Times entitled “You May Want to Marry My Husband” published just before her death 10 days later at age 51 of ovarian cancer. This just felt to sad, as I (selfishly) never got to meet her and I went on a hunt for all things Amy Krause Rosenthal and I read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and Textbook Amy Krause Rosenthal and then looked up all kinds of videos that she had created. She was a true creator and liked to make art and events. In Textbook Amy Krause Rosenthal she stated “On 4.29 at 4:29pm, text someone I love you. That is what I would like for my birthday each year.”

Well, each year since 2017 I set a reminder to do just this. Last Thursday when my alarm went off I was momentarily puzzled. The light slowly dawned and I immediately texted my mom, day, and two sons with that simple message.

Due to time zones there was no quick reply (all but one of them is in the US, so my afternoon is the middle of their night), but how lovely later in the evening to get their love messages back. Ironically my son who is in nearly the same time zone is notorious for not answering texts, so his response… well, I am still waiting for it… Sending the message felt especially poignant this year as I will not be able to travel back to the US this summer and have not seen my parents since July of 2019.

My mom’s response, “And I love you and miss you too. It’s been too long, thank goodness for texting and FaceTime at least.”

My dad: “Me too, Erika. Wish we could be together.”

My younger son, “Love you too! How is lockdown going?”

The April 29 Experiment filled my heart, yet again. Thanks to AKR for continuing to inspire.

6 thoughts on “The April 29 Experiment

  1. I, too, think she was pretty great. Since I didn’t know about this, I have obviously not fallen as far down the AKR rabbit hole as you have. I may have to join you. 🙂 Let’s see how many years until your family comes to expect it on April 29th.

  2. Oh, Erica, that is such a great tradition. What a wonderful text for your loved ones to get when they woke up. I didn’t know much about AKR until I read that essay she wrote about marrying her husband. Her post was so heartfelt, loving, beautiful and memorable. I have thought of it several times since I read it.

  3. I love love love AKR and her work. I’ve read all of these titles as well and her picture books remain among my favorite to give as gifts. This is such a great way to celebrate her life each year. I think she’d love it. How hard the current circumstances must be for you. Let’s hope next summer you will be able to come back to the US to see you family.

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