I read to her every night now. I’m so excited we’ve added that into the night-time routine. An avid reader myself and a lover of children’s literature, I delight in the quiet evenings in the rocking chair, a baby hugged close to my chest, a board book in one hand. Her wide eyes take notice of the pages, the way I turn them. She touches each page and I allow her fingers to linger on the pages, feel the smooth paper, get to know the book in the only way she knows how. I read about the old lady saying ‘hush’, the bears in their chairs, the mittens and those rascal kittens. I’ve read this book a hundred times before to children of all ages. In story times and one on one but always with other people’s children. Now here I am with my own child. I’m at the very beginning with her. I get one chance to impress her with these things called books. I want her to fall in love with them, to know the stories. I want her to love them so much that I fantasize finding her years from now, in her bedroom late at night under the covers, flashlight in hand, finishing a classic like Burnett’s Secret Garden or Rawl’s Where The Red Fern Grows. Maybe she will enjoy the wonderful Edward Eager Half Magic series or go for something vintage like Nancy Drew. I can’t wait to read chapter books aloud to her; Alice In Wonderland, Caddie Woodlawn, The Little Prince, even Harry Potter. And then she’ll push me away and want to read her own books. Reading aloud will be for the babies and she’ll want to retreat to her room and finish the latest book in what ever series will be popular at the time. Books I may know nothing about. She will grow some more and with that growth her reading will wax and wane. She will go through periods where she reads only school books and there will be times when she wants to devour book after book after book of her own choosing. She will grow some more and she will form a love for certain subjects, a certain type of book. She may like science fiction, romance, thrillers, maybe a little bit of everything? She will connect with books, with the characters and the stories and start discussing this with friends. She may even share with me. She may want to read the same book I’m reading and discuss it with me. Share in the magic that so many stories bring. Steinbeck, Austen, Lamott, Moore. Authors that she will turn to again and again for words of wisdom, stories to inspire and escape into. She will get older and seek out book stores for those books that make her nostalgic for her childhood and reread them. Or maybe she won’t and save the rereading for when she has a daughter to read to. I so hope the magic of books captures her. I want so much to instill this love for the written word.
I sit in this chair and finish my story… ‘Goodnight noises everywhere.’ I close the book. “The End”. She looks up at me and smiles. I put down the book and get her into bed and smile when I think, I am just at the beginning with books and I am so excited this journey with her has finally begun.
* joining Heather for Just Write.
** Yes, I know – this is technically a picture of my mom reading to Ellie, but no one has taken my picture reading to her yet. It’s happening though. Every night we read bedtime stories. Oh what a lovely thing.