Monday, April 11, 2011

Reading to my Son

I love to read to my son. I've been reading to him since he was a baby and even though he is now eleven and very capable of reading to himself, I still read to him. Reading is our nightly bedtime ritual and I wouldn't trade those precious moments for anything. Many of the books that I read to him when he was little are still ingrained in my mind. I can recite many lines from memory.  Phrases such as, "It's time for bed little mouse, little mouse. Darkness is falling all over the house." and another all time favorite, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." And how many parents can finish this sentence from the classic "Good Night Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown; "In a great green room lived a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of......."?

As Isaiah grew, our bedtime readings changed. He loved the adventures of "The Chronicles of Narnia", "The Hobbit" and "Moby Dick". When he was in kindergarten he was fascinated with everything pirate so we read Robert Louis Stevenson's, "Treasure Island". We've read about Cleopatra and The Trojan War. We've read Homer's "Odyssey", "Oliver Twist", "The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", "The Call of the Wild", "Tom Sawyer" and "Robinson Crusoe". Along with some of these classics, we've also enjoyed the Hank the Cowdog series. My favorite part is the southern drawl that I get to add to Hank's lines or stuttering like Junior, the dimwitted buzzard. (I love adding voices. During student teaching first graders, story time was my favorite part of the day and I aspire to someday be the storyteller for my local library's story hour. Seriously, it sounds like great fun.)

I love that as I list these titles of books we've read, that I can remember the age my son was at the time of the reading. I can vividly remember the interests of my boy. I remember that while we were reading "Treasure Island", Isaiah had a pirate birthday party. Our guests wore eye patches and made treasure boxes which we filled with loot. The cake was a pirate ship and completely armed with malted milk ball cannon balls. I remember Isaiah wanting to raft barefooted down the Mississippi as Tom and Huck had done. I remember his eyes wide, half in fear and half in anticipation as Captain Ahab hunted down his enemy, Moby Dick. I remember our tears as Buck was beaten by the dog trainers....OK, maybe I was the only one that cried.

I hope that Isaiah remembers these things. He may not remember the details of each story but I hope he remembers that we read. I hope that he continues to love reading. I hope he has great adventures in his life, similar to those we have read about. I hope that when he is a father, he spends those precious moments before sleep to read to his son or daughter. If nothing else, may he remember being very loved by his mom.

My favorite adventure has been raising my son. (Summer 2006)

The Reading Mother ~ Strickland Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

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