Whether we are visiting Podo’s Garden in Aerwair, a snowy hovel in Narnia or Ramona Quimby’s Cellar on Klickitat Street, a little spark is lit. We all know it only takes a spark to start a wildfire.
What do a walrus and an ant have to do with reading aloud? I won’t spoil the story in case you haven’t read this chapter in Read Aloud Family but it was a great reminder that we need to be able to notice the little things. We don’t need to miss those small important moments waiting for something big. To often I’m missing the ants waiting for the walrus. I don’t take the chance to look at the flowers with my son, to watch bubbles blowing through the air, or to take that five minutes to read a chapter in our book together.
In the interest of transparency, sibling relationships is something that we’ve been really trying to work on in our house. I love the part about how those stories we read become something that they shared and help to create deep friendship between siblings. I can already see how some of the books we have read have given my children a common language and inside jokes that bring them closer together. For example, my husband likes to joke around and use his Aslan voice to get their attention, calling out ” Oh Children’.” Every time we go to hotel that has a wardrobe in the room it is the first place they run to, climbing in for an adventure to Narnia. We are still working on those relationships, but I love the idea that my time reading aloud can benefit those relationships and help to draw them closer.
Stories are comfort food. Stories are inside jokes. Stories are ant moments. They bond us together even when life is hard. When we pull a child on our lap and break open the pages of a book, we’re taking them by the hand and walking them into a quiet garden in the center of a noisy polluted city.
Life can get so busy and our days so full of the urgent things in life: dishes, laundry, bills, cleaning, work, school, etc. We can get disconnected from the ones we love and care about most. Reading aloud is an easy way to bring us all together, to leave the business behind and enjoy some moments together. It doesn’t take a lot of preparation or money, just a few moments and a good book.
When my head hits the pillow each night I want to know that I have done the one most important thing: I have fostered warm, happy memories and created lifelong bonds with my kids– even when the rest of life feels hard.
This chapter hit home and stepped on my toes a little bit. Too often I get busy and I’m rushing around and I miss the little things the important things. I’m going forward with a renewed determination to enjoy the everyday moments and be focused on the here and now. I want to know that I spent each day doing what was most important even if what is most important are the little things. I leave you with this quote from chapter 2, “success in parenting my kids means showing up and giving my best to what matters most right now. Which means, of course, that I have to know what matters most right now.”
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