Sure, there are wine tasting parties. Sure, there are ESPN basketball games. Sure, there are trips to fun places to see family. There are plays or concerts.
But most of the time, there’s the everyday things…
Giggles (or sighs of frustration) during dinner time. Splashes of water during bath time. Tears when bath time is over. Little hands helping to move the clean clothes from the washer to the dryer. The routine of our little family.
And almost always, there’s books. Lots of books. Lots of the same books. And I hope that never changes.
There’s something that just melts my heart when that sweet girl comes running over saying “book” over and over and over again. The excitement in her little frame as she plops – or climbs – into my lap and settles in as the cover opens. And then as soon as the story is over, the excitement to hop out of my lap saying “dada” so that he knows it’s now his turn to read that same book to her.
The joy in helping to turn the pages, or point out the things she recognizes – puppies, bows, stars, elephants, tigers, or so many other things. The enthusiasm in that little voice when she mimics the sound a bee makes, or says what a fish says. The rapt attention to a story that was just read 60 seconds ago.
They may not be literary giants – they’re board books so pages don’t get torn. They’re simple stories with good life lessons in the form of a precocious little pig, or a cat in a hat. But they’re so much more than that – they’re time with each other. They are time away from a computer or phone or tv screen. They are time of shared attention between a child and parent.
They are stillness in a day full of running and squirming. They are soft voices in a day full of technology. They are time snuggled on the floor, or in a big comfy chair together.
And I hope Little One, that they are only the beginning of a life-long love affair with reading. Because those books – they will take you places. They’ll introduce you to people and ideas. They’ll teach you something, and they’ll allow you to escape into another place or time.
Peanut, keep reading. And maybe someday, we’ll pass books back and forth to one another like I do with your Oma. Maybe someday, reading will be just one part of the bond we share.