I have always loved reading books with my kiddos. When my older two were younger, we would make countless trips to the library and choose up to twenty books a visit! We would sit at night, just slightly before bedtime curled up under a blanket and read through the treasure trove of books that we would bring home from our beloved local library.
The nighttime ritual of story time was an activity we never tired of and when it was finally time to call it a night, there were always sighs and pleas for “one last story book”…
I cherished those times – When all was right with the universe and we had nowhere else to be but at home, in our jammies , snuggling on the couch and finding ourselves blissfully lost in wonderful stories… The gift of imagination and make believe woven throughout the words and illustrations within each story –
Time standing still…
These moments for me seemed like a gift… Childhood at its best… And maybe even parenthood at its finest..
It is a little more difficult these days to find time to sit and enjoy the same type of peaceful moments with my younger children. My older kiddos have lots of homework and activities that seem to be scheduled much later than I would really like.
I quite often find myself fitting in reading to my younger children while we sit in the car waiting to pick someone up or in between sporting events… When I finally do get a chance to sit and snuggle with my younger two and start to read with them it is usually on some sort of time schedule and I find myself viewing these moments as more obligatory than precious.
It makes me sad.
The other night though -- as we all were settling in, with nowhere to run off to… I got some time to sit with the “Little’s” ( our youngest daughter and son) and read a favorite story book. This particular story was titled, “Love you forever” written by Robert Munsch.
I remember being given this story book as a baby shower gift from a dear colleague of mine --A mother of six children, a wonderful wife, a talented special educator, a devout Christian and a good friend. She made motherhood look easy... I learned so much from her in the time I spent working with her – she made me look forward to being a new mother… Every new young mother needs a person like this in their lives.. I was blessed..
Anyways, I remember opening this book and having her tell me that I would probably ball my eyes out as I read it. Well, I read it – and I thought that the mother character was a little creepy – as she was always crawling into the room of her son and staring at him while he was sleeping. She would then scoop up her sleeping son into her arms and chant, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living – my baby you’ll be.” I was also pretty sure the mother in this story had certainly lost her mind, when I read along to find that she was still attempting to climb a ladder into her grown son’s new home in order to rock her grown son (now a man) in her arms.. Yep – a little weird…
Well, creepy or not, I have read this story a thousand times to my oldest children. I can actually recite most of it by heart. It is a favorite with the older kiddos and so it is with my little’s.
As I sat there reading this book, my munchkins quietly snuggled into either side of me and as I looked at the illustrations of this sweet little story and read the words that I have read many times before, I felt a lump in my throat…
I saw the faces of my babies soften with sadness as they watched the grown boy, rock his dying Mother in his arms and then go home to his own baby daughter. I felt my youngest son and daughter simultaneously wrapped their small arms around me just a little tighter as we neared the end of the story.
It made me sad.
My older two kids quietly entered the room and climbed behind us onto the back of the couch to listen to this tale – and they looked on with silent reverie and respect.
And as I looked at the faces of my children while I once again read the conclusion of this tale, the mother character in the story did not seem so creepy—as a matter of fact, she seemed --- wise..
It's all quite sane – really.
I cannot say that I crawled into their rooms well after they were asleep to rock them all in my arms that night. I cannot say I chanted loving words as spoken by this mother with dedicated persistence… But you can bet that I will be found at Aubuchon Hardware one of these days – probably a day much too soon -- buying myself a nice expensive ladder…
And my kids will definitely think I have lost it…
Until they have their own children.