Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Reading

I read to 4 groups of preschoolers today. I'd forgotten how much I love to do that. I remember when my sister-in-law was expecting her first child, I bought her the complete A. A. Milne set of Winnie-the-Pooh. She was pretty horrified. "Who's going to read those to him?" I said, "I will, I will!" I meant it too. I read aloud to all my kids, the big books, the children's classics, and they loved to listen. It was one of my very favorite things about their childhoods...
rediscovering the beloved books from my own childhood.
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It's been a while since I've read to my kids. They are all grown up now, and live on their own. Except for Cara. She spends so much time in her room, or out with her friends that, really, sometimes it seems as if she's already gone too. So it was great fun reading to the tykes today.I looked at all the eager little faces leaning forward, anxious to see what happens when I turn the page. And I read. I read three books to each group, and you know, I did not want to stop.
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Childhood is such a precious time, and I wonder if I realized that at the time. For all the joys of childhood, it is also frustrating, and plain hard work. Trying to juggle a marriage to a type A personality who was big on the material things while savoring those childhood years was a struggle. Sometimes I just got tired. But I loved being a mom. It's truly the very nicest thing that's ever happened to me in my life. For all of the frustrations, there were plenty of joys. When I sit quietly thinking, I can still hear the echoes of voices long changed..."Mama, I forleft my doll." or Brianna's sweet voice as she made up stories about Smurfs or Ewoks. Or the big hug around my waist as little Dylan said, "Oh, I can't wait for Christmas. You will be so surprised when you open the microwave." Cara crying because she couldn't stand wrinkles in her clothing. She was such a funny pipsqueak. I always thought she'd either grow up to be a genius or some obsessive control freak. The idea that she wind up to be a little of both never occurred to me. I enjoy thinking of them as they were, even though I do love what they are.
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If I can say one thing to the parents of little people today, it would be this one thing: take a few minutes to read them a book, to listen to their little voices, and to really savor this day. Make a nice memory. Your life doesn't end when they move into their own lives, but it changes.
And you will miss what was.

3 comments:

Alison said...

After I read your post I went and had a cuddle with the girls. It is so very important to savour their moments. Even as toddlers, I still sometimes miss their tiny baby moments.
We love books, too. If ever you're visiting Australia you're more than welcome to visit us for a story or three :)

Pencil Writer said...

Lovely thoughts. I too read to all my four children from VERY early ages. My oldest daughter, now 32, says she still likes for me to read to her.

It is a magical time: dramatic, quiet and reflective, comical, enlightening and bonding. My husband and I have always loved reading. Our fathers always loved reading as well. We have so many books, periodicals, etc., we never seem to have enough room to shelve them all. And all our children love to read--even one daughter, who due to some severe ADD issues, finds reading very difficult. So for her senior year in high school, she wanted to read "Les Miserables". Well, she asked me to read it to her. I can't tell you what an enjoyable task that was! All 1100 something pages!

Like you, however, reading to toddlers and young children is a great experience, too! I worked as a teacher's aid in a Kindergarten class some years ago. Reading to my small groups of children was always my favorite part of each day!

Now I have grandchildren . . . even better!

Glad to hear you had a good feeling day with little ones.

jeanie said...

I too love to read to little ones - but time seems to be against me with my own every evening! But thank you for the reminder to MAKE TIME.