Just last evening, as my two sons were winding down from a typical Tuesday at school and slipping into the typical Tuesday evening routine at home, I noticed my youngest son lying on the sofa with a large book in his hands. While both of my sons are avid readers, and this is not an out of the ordinary occurrence, his focus seemed razor sharp, and I was curious what held his attention so fully.
“Hey Bud, watcha readin’?”, I asked. He held up the book without saying a word. It was one of my absolute favorite holiday delights, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. I could tell he was completely mesmerized with the words and pictures as he excitedly turned each page.
Years of nightly, pre-bedtime reading to this newly nine-year-old little boy, when he was much younger and much less capable of reading on his own, flashed through my mind. Sitting in my comfortable over-sized lazy-boy, holding this little nugget on my lap, smelling his freshly washed little boy hair and smiling to myself at his precious little boy pajamas, as I read countless bedtime stories each night before putting him to bed.
Oh, how I miss those days! When ‘just one more, Mommy…’ is anything I would give to hear again.
While memories flashed through my mind like a Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation slideshow in the attic, I said: “Would you like me to read the book to you?”. My son shook his head and informed me he could read it himself. Doing a quick reassessment, I said: “Well, it is one of my favorites; maybe you could read it to me?”. He contemplated this for a split second, and then sheepishly crawled from the sofa, across the living room to where I sat, in the exact same chair I rocked him as a baby all those years ago.
That little boy proceeded to read the whole book (he started over so that I didn’t miss anything) to me. I held my tongue when he came to a word he did not know how to pronounce. He figured them all out, even the ‘Suessery’ words that did not quite make it into the English lingo we use daily.
As I sat, barely holding this nearly full-grown child, half on my lap and half sitting beside me, I lost myself in the story I could practically quote from heart. It was almost like hearing it for the first time, as my youngest son, with his sweet little voice full of excitement, read it with full-on overly-zealous and theatrical Dr. Suess flare.
How quickly time passes and how one’s perception of a situation is the key to one’s acceptance and…even enjoyment.
If I had let myself sit there too long, I would have become weepy and misty-eyed, considering the passage of time and how my baby is no longer my baby.
Reveling in his newly found reading skills, I was able to enjoy spending quality time with him in a way that was different, yet completely enjoyable, for both of us.
In taking the time to read to me, his Mommy turned Mother, I was able to fully immerse myself in the story, revel in the reading skills this child has developed, and feel as close to him as I did when he was a small version of the young man he is today.
Time is sure to change our relationship with our children. But that does not have to be a bad thing! Letting our once needy and helpless kids take the reigns once in awhile and take care of us parents, whether it be driving us around, fixing dinner, tucking us in once in a while, or reading us a bedtime story as we once did for them, can be quite a beautiful and unexpected gift. “Try it, you might like it” comes to mind, but I realize that is the wrong Dr. Suess story…
I can assure you, dear Mommy and Daddy friends, as my son sat with me in that big, over-sized lazy-boy recliner, and read one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time, my heart grew five sizes (which is two sizes larger than the Grinch’s after he unsuccessfully attempted to steal Christmas from the Who’s of Whoville).
Manndi Maphies DeBoef works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy at Missouri State University. She also enjoys freelance writing. Her greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two sons, William and Waylan, who never fail to provide daily entertainment, which inspires many of her writings. She writes about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one and starting over. Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor. “Live a life worth writing about.”
Image courtesy of Ksenia Chernaya.