Friday, March 2, 2012

SOLSC #2: Reading Together

It is the birthday of Dr. Seuss so it only seems right to celebrate the day with a story about reading to our children.  Dr. Seuss was one of our favorite authors to read together at bedtime.  When my children get together and start talking about books we read when they were little, his titles always make the list. 

In Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem by Donald M. Murray.  Murray reminds us in his section titled I Write to Celebrate, "Writing makes me aware of the extraordinary in the ordinary."  This story reminds me that these small moments in our lives are so significant.  

John came back to the children's book section where I was on the floor with a stack of picture books.  "Figures I'd find you here, Mom," he laughed as he came back to join me.  It was funny to see him here where his head now nearly met the top of the shelves.  Sitting at the small tables provided would have been a challenge for him.

"Where else would I be?" I replied matching the tone of his banter.

It really wasn't surprising to find me here.  Whenever we are in a bookstore I always go straight to the picture book section.  I'm always looking to see what is new, paying attention to how bookstores display their books, and always searching for a few new finds for my classroom shelves.

John continues to tease me about my obsession with picture books.  We joke for a bit and suddenly my six foot college freshman takes pause.  His silence, a bit unusual, causes me to look up from my book.  His eyes begin to search the display.  "I remember this one," he proclaimed picking up a copy of Time for Bed by Mem Fox.  I smile at the memory.  It seems only yesterday he was half his size.  We spent night after night reading picture books before bed.  We would cuddle up to read bedtime stories, new picture books I was considering for my classroom, stories we'd picked up at the library, and titles that had found a permanent home on our shelves.

John continues looking at the display of bedtime stories carefully arranged to attract attention.  "These were the best," my son continues as he picks up familiar title after familiar title.  By now I have forgotten the stack of picture books in my lap and am caught up in remembering.  Remembering night after night curled up with a book with John and his sisters around me.  I wonder how time trickled through our fingertips, but am thankful my son has tucked these same memories into his heart.

He looks at the newer stories to consider if they would have been worthy of our attention.  His eyes finally set upon Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.  "Every kid has to read this," he says emphatically as he continues to tell all the reasons this book is so important in the world of children's literature.  Of course, all this talk about monsters in books brings us around to the conversation of his all time favorite book, Please Do Not Open This Book by Jon Stone.  We are both caught up in the memory.

Looking at my son, I'm so proud of all he has become.  I put my stack of picture books back on the shelf and walk out with him towering above me.  Thankful for this small moment that reminded me of the importance of time together.










6 comments:

  1. Cathy, I love this slice. Time passes entirely too quickly. I'm at the middle years with my boys - 9 and 6 - but they both still read with me now. I hope they retain the memories like John has when they are older. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Katherine,
      What fun ages! When my kids were that age I felt the world of books was ours. We could still read picture books, but there were many chapter books we could enjoy together as well. Good memories.

      Cathy

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  2. We both had our boys on our minds last night. :) This is beautiful and brings back memories of reading to Molly, Zach, and Annie. It's wonderful that John has such fond memories. It makes me smile. :)

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    1. Julie,
      I think our boys have been on our minds a lot this year. Isn't it fun to remember back to the days of reading together.

      Cathy

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  3. Cathy, this post brought a lump to my throat....reading books to Drew while cuddled up in his bed is a memory that I will always, always treasure. I hope he has a moment like John someday. I can remember him pleading, "just one more" when his bedtime had long passed. Picture books are the one thing I have missed the most since switching to middle school although I do still bring some in from time to time when I find a good one that compliments the oft dry curriculum of ancient history and world geography. I still find myself heading to the Children's section when I go to a bookstore or watch the little ones in the library with their moms making their choices, wishing that was me again. I hope someday to share the love of picture books with grandkids. In a corner of my basement in a Rubbermaid tub sits the favorites that I could never sell at a garage sale or donate to a new mom. They are waiting for a new set of eager eyes pleading "just one more!"

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  4. I am typing with tears in my eyes! Reading to my girls is the fondest memory of all! Lexi used to insist on FIVE books a night and a bonus if she deemed apppropriate! Livi had her pickings too, I used to think I'd never get thru the stacks, now I'd give anything to have them back in my bed, stacks and all!

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