As often as possible, I try to read stories to the kids before they go to bed at night. We were pretty busy over the last couple of weeks because of family visiting from the U.S. But, I’ve tried to pick up this tradition with them again.
I will admit that there are days when I don’t feel like it, especially when I want to retreat to the quiet of my bedroom after a tiring day. But, it is so hard to resist it when my three year old Titus comes knocking on my door, peeks in and then says, “Can you read a story, mommy?” I look into that endearing face of his, full of anticipation and hopefulness, and I can’t say no. “Okay! Let’s read a story.”
He will pull me to the boys’ room, where my other two boys would have picked out their books for me to read and I will read through each of their selections.
Yesterday night we read “How the Leopard Got It’s Spots” by Rudyard Kipling. Whoa! I kind of dread it when Elijah picks out a Kipling story because my tongue gets all twisted trying to read things like this…
“In the days when everybody started fair, Best Beloved, the Leopard lived in a place called the High Veldt. ‘Member it wasn’t the Low Veldt, or the Bush Veldt, or the Sour Veldt, but the ‘sclusively bare, hot shiny High Veldt, where there was sand and sandy-coloured rock and ‘sclusively tufts of sandy-yellowish grass. The Giraffe and the Zebra and the Eland and the Koodoo and the Hartebeest lived there: and they were ‘sclusively sandy-yellow-brownish all over; but the Leopard, he was the ‘sclusivest sandiest-yellowest-brownest of them all…”
The amazing thing is that Elijah comprehends this stuff while I sometimes get lost in all the strange vocabulary.
Tonight was a much easier night. I read a short story about loving Grandpas, which Titus picked out. And then I read the story of Disney’s Dumbo, which took me back to my childhood. I remember how Dumbo made me cry when I was kid…the part where his mom was taken away. That used to feel like a really upsetting part of the story. As I read to the kids, they sat around me, wide-eyed and riveted. When Titus discovered that Dumbo could fly, he was thrilled! I was, too! I had forgotten that part. We ended with Edan reading parts of the Bible stories of Samson and Samuel.
I closed the last book and took in the site of my boys. They were smiling as they climbed into their beds and pulled up their covers. Well…Elijah playfully rolled around on the floor for a bit.
“Goodnight boys, I love you,” I said as I shut the door behind me.
And as I walked to my room, it dawned on me, I will miss evenings like these when they are all grown. I will miss hearing them come up to my bedroom and say, “Can you read a story, mom?”And so for nights like these and those yet to come, though tired or spent or needy of quiet or rest, may my answer to their question almost always be, yes!