We’ve always read with the kids. Library time has always been a priority in our house, whether that house was in Jersey, Hawaii, or Virginia. We’ve always been big on books and the other things libraries have going on. Activities, readings, trainings, playtimes, story times, Lego times, all the times. We’ve always been big library people. We still are. I have a pile of books to return tomorrow.
But beyond all that is something that continues to excite me. The twins are thirteen and the Bear is eleven. They are all brilliant in their own way. We have read books throughout their lives, but over the last four to five years, something really special has happened in our household. There came a point where the girls wanted me to read a book to them as a unit. I believe it was a special illustrated edition of The Wizard of Oz that one of them had received as a gift. We read it together. I did all the voices as I always do and it was fun. We read a bunch of the Oz books together until they became utterly ridiculous. We read Island of the Blue Dolphins and Call of the Wild, among others, including a few “My Little Pony” books, where the voices were a challenge. Pinky Pie is still my favorite.
I’d started reading with the Boyo too. We did some of the Lord of the Rings stuff and The Tao of Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. It was fun, and I got the idea that if I could get all three kids into the same book, or even the same series, I would really be able to have some fun with our time reading together before we go to sleep.
I’ll ask the kids tomorrow and I imagine one of them will remember exactly which book it was that was the first one we did all together, but I believe it was “A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” We read the first three of that series and had a blast. They still understand how valuable a towel is and that the answer is 42. There were others after that, including The Chronal Engine and Tofu and T-Rex, and that led to George Washington’s Socks and eventually we found our way to the “Sisters Grimm” series, which took almost a year, and then we did Colin Meloy’s “Wildwood Trilogy.” We did the “Riverman” trilogy, and tried lots of other ones, and they didn’t always translate into huge enthusiasm, so we’d move on. I real Ready Player One to them earlier this year in anticipation of the movie and that was a lot of fun. We’ve read a ton together and what’s exciting for me is that, even now, they still like doing it with me.
We are in the last pages currently in A Wrinkle in Time which I’m embarrassed to say I’d never read until now. I was supposed to in the “Children’s Lit” class I took in my final undergrad semester at Wooster, but I completely blew it off. There’s a series there so we may dive into it in the coming weeks. What’s exciting to me is that, despite their tablets and laptops for school and all of the other distractions, at the end of the night, we are all ready to have me read them a story.
I still do the voices. They correct me if I use the wrong voice but honestly, it’s just fun.
I don’t know that they’ll let me do this with them forever. I’d like to think that this could be part of our routine for the next few years. We are very deliberate about routines in the evening so I might have a shot at keeping it going. I truly hope so as it’s really just amazing when I consider all of the worlds we’ve explored together. I think there is something special about the time we are spending at the end of the day. I’m going to keep reading to them as long as I can. My voices are pretty good, I think, so here’s hoping. I know they are growing up and I know that’s the way of things. I encourage that and I’m really impressed with the young people they are becoming.
But I like reading to them and they seem to like listening. I’m going to do it as long as they let me. I know the future is fraught with teenage-ness, but I hold out hope that our routine, our time together, and the hope that our “day is done” time as a family will still remain, at least in some way. I think it will. I hope it will. After all, there’s a lot of good books out there. We haven’t read them all.
I'll take all the time they give me.
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