And so began the sleepytime ritual for five children of a certain age. They would toddle over to the bookshelf, pull down the volume of choice, and snuggle up for a story (or three). I will never forget the coziness and special-ness of those moments. I introduced them to the classics--Rosemary Wells, Dr. Seuss, Arnold Lobel--and loved every second of the telling. Not so much? When they would haul over the humongous Richard Scarry book of Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, endlessly poring over the big pages looking for the hidden Goldbug, or when they went on a Disney book jag (note to whoever penned these over-long and atrocious treatments of Walt's movies--101 Dalmatians was 101 pages at least--I hid your books and pretended to have lost them!)
Since I was pretty young myself, I always LOVED to read aloud. Vivid memories include reading my sisters (then 10 and 13) Gone with the Wind in its entirety, on the back deck of our house the year we lived in Massachusetts. Took weeks. Lost my voice in the end. Well worth it.
When Evan was a freshman in high school, he began to get headaches, just about every day. It was hard for him to concentrate on schoolwork at all, reading in particular. I felt for him, but wasn't sure what I could do to help. Finally one day, it dawned on me: read to him! And so began another marathon Gone with the Wind performance (accents, differentiated characters and all). Every night, I opened that much-loved book and began to tell the next chapter of the story. My poor kid lay on the sofa in pain, but listening, always listening. As I would discover, Rose and PJ, in an adjacent room, were listening too. When the indomitable Scarlett intoned, "Tomorrow is another day!" I closed the volume reluctantly. I knew it marked the end of my read-a-thons with my children, and it hurt.
Today, they are all avid readers, so I guess my job was done well enough. But who will cuddle with me tonight, when this baby-sick mom reaches for Goodnight Moon one more time?
|Elise reading "Jolly Mon" to Rose (and Julie if she's listening:)|
|Steve reading "Just Dad and Me" to Sheridan|