As September turns into October and the aroma of fall fills the air, I am reminded of the blessings I have and the gifts that I have been given. My summer was rich with interactions with children and parents who visited the Children’s Reading Place. My memories are full of hundreds of children, reading with a parent or by themselves and allowing their imagination to melt away the outside world and the words to take them on a new adventure.
Elijah, Alex and Noah arrived early one morning with smiles on their faces and curiosity in the hearts. As they came through the front door their eyes darted left and right in unison. This was a new experience for me, I had never met triplets before. At first, they clung together and explored as one but after a few minutes, they settled into individual activities. Elijah climbed onto my lap with a book ” The Princess and the Happiness” and without words, asked me to read it to him. Part way into the story, I realized that his brothers were standing on either side of the chair listening and watching the pages turn. I invited them to join us on the chair and they scampered up and squeezed in. There was an easy supply of books in front of me and we went through ” Henry’s Bright Idea” and “Caps for Sale” before one of them slipped off the chair and continued their own tour. They were all off in different directions doing their own thing. I am thankful for the fifteen to twenty minutes we shared in the chair and grateful for the opportunity to see the boys and their mom tucked in the Maker Space cubby, about an hour later, with flashlights and a stack of books.
I feel a bit like Miss Fran from Romper Room but in my mind, I see Briele, Emily, Kennedy, Wyatt, Cloe, Tamara, Alexander, Tyson, Leaf, Cooper, Andrew, Avery, and dozens of other children who add a memorable moment to my life.
Alexander, a seven-year-old accomplished reader found a joke book and decided that was his choice to take home. He followed me around the house reading jokes and laughing even when neither of us really found it funny. At one point I said,” I don’t get it” and he replied, ” it’s a joke, you don’t need to get it, you just need to laugh”. It was a great reminder that I am thankful he offered me.
Emily (we have had many Emilys) was shy when she arrived and wouldn’t introduce herself or give me a high-five. I let her find her bearings and mom was beside her carrying a younger brother. After a half hour, I was sitting on a low stool talking with another family in the Maker Space and she settled in on the chair beside me. She started to colour and draw and then asked me to help her with the scissors. Mom said; ” you know how to use scissors, just be careful”. Emily still passed me the paper and looked at me for assistance. I just held the paper tightly as she snipped and cut. As I watch her face gleam with accomplishment, I asked if she had read any books yet.
She informed me that they had already read three books. I asked, ” Have you picked a book to take home?” She informed me, as only a four-year-old could, ” I haven’t decided yet”. The subtext that I heard was “I am busy but I will pick a book”
I appreciate the chance to see Emily get comfortable with the house and with me and for her confidence and ease that she showed me in our brief conversations.
Like beautiful homes, cute babies, or noble careers helping others, books can make us feel like we mean something positive, and in gratitude, we truly love them. ~ Nell Zink
As we move towards our Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage you to share your gratitude with others and share your home and lap with children. As I discovered, when I share the joy of reading, I get so much more in return.