Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my responsibilities as an adult, I forget to be a parent! My family went on a vacation last week, so I spent the week prior tying up loose ends. This week is my week to play catch up, both at home and at work. It’s hard to awaken on time, do the laundry and get back into my routines. It really didn’t hit me to “slow down” until last night. I said something which made my husband and I both laugh and sent my daughter into meltdown mode. She didn’t think it was funny. She thought we were intentionally poking fun at her. As her sobbing got louder, I apologized and told her to come and lie down next to me on the couch so I could kiss her forehead, wipe the tears away and just snuggle with her. She eased into comfort after a couple of reassuring minutes and then went upstairs to get ready for bed. Case closed. Now I can relax, I thought.
Or not. Shortly after she had gone to bed, I went upstairs to tuck her in and say prayers. When I went to leave she grabbed my sleeve, book in hand, saying, “Mommy, let’s read.” Read? But I was in the middle of Dancing with the Stars. Can’t you just read to yourself, I thought? Did we really have to read tonight? It turns out we did, and I’m glad for it.
She climbed into her bed and wrapped up with her blankets and stuffed animals. She held one of my hands as I flipped pages with the other and read aloud one chapter. What a pleasure it turned out to be for each of us. It was a special, quiet, alone time. Time to relax and regroup. Time to reflect on all of those moments she had curled up in my lap as I read to her as a baby. I asked her this morning what makes reading with mommy so enjoyable, and she said, “It calms me.”
Reading aloud isn’t just for young children who can’t read yet. It’s a personal gift a parent can give to a child at any age. Mine just happens to be twelve.