Tonight was one of those rare evenings when everything went
right on schedule. Mackenzie had to be out the door by 6:20 so dinner was on
the table by 6. Nelson had a 7:00 meeting so he was able to eat with us.
The kids had finished, Mackenzie and Nelson had gone, and
the kitchen was relatively clean when I ushered the boys to the shower. Max was
down and out by 7:30 and the boys were clean.
“Why don’t you guys pick out a story and I’ll read to you,”
I ventured. Just saying those words on a school night felt like such a luxury.
They raced to the book shelf asking if they could each
choose one but I suggested they pick a longer one we could start on and finish
another time. Amazingly, it took only a minute for them to agree on Charlotte’s Web.
This sweet story is one of my childhood favorites. I loved
the book and adored the movie…still do. My heart went all pitter patter when
they handed me the book with those etch-like illustrations on the cover.
Since we were already upstairs, I opted to do the reading in
Aiden’s bed. I plopped down on my stomach in the middle with a boy flanking
each side and opened the book.
began in my innocent little girl voice, "’Where's Papa going with that
ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.” They
or no pictures, they were in. Questions like, “Are swallows birds Mama?”,
“What’s a sheepfold?”, “Manure? What’s that?” were the only words that broke
I knew it, we had arrived at chapter 3, which was a bit lengthy. “I don’t know
if we’ll get all the way through this one guys.”
on Mama, please!” they begged.
so glad we forged onward because midway through that chapter was the moment. It
was the moment the bed got really still and the boys snuggled under the covers
and up against me. It was the moment that my rough and tough guys melted and
without hesitation or prompting, had their hands on my arms and heads near the
stopped at the end of that one and said our prayers together, the two of them
beginning to drift off. I tucked Aiden in tightly and escorted Dawson to his room to do the same.
you leave the book in the bed with Aiden?” he wanted to know.
I put it on his bookshelf so it would be ready the next time we read it.”
love that story Mama,” he said as he kissed me goodnight.
all but forgotten what it was like to snuggle with my big boys. Our activities
with them tend toward the rough, the tough and the competitive. Stories are
something they’ve always loved though. It’s one of the few activities that slow
them down long enough to sit still.
English major, I could go on and on about the value of reading to your
children. I could tout the benefits of experiencing great literature together
(and boy, oh boy, does E.B. White deliver).
however, was not about symbolism, plot summary, or character analysis. Tonight
was about the moment. It was about the close physical contact. It was about the
stillness of the room. It was about praying that in the long run, these are the
moments they’ll remember.