Thursday, July 12, 2007

I am so lame.

My kids are both reading now. And they both love to read, which is great. They love to come to the library and choose books, and they almost always enjoy the books I bring back for them when I come home from work. They participated in the library's summer reading program, finishing the required number of books within just a few days. I'm so pleased that they have become true readers.

But...

My younger daughter just finished reading a chapter book all by herself, one I haven't even read before. And while I was extremely proud of her, I also felt a sense of loss. I'd been looking forward to reading that book with her. Instead, she handed it to me when she was finished and said, "You should read this - it's really funny." It made me feel delighted and depressed all at the same time.

My older daughter will now become engrossed in a book and disappear up to her room with it. I spent most of my own childhood holed up in my room with books. I remember how cozy and peaceful it was reading up there in bed, propped up on my pillows, and I'm pleased that she's discovering that particular joy, too. But at the same time I want to run up and bring her back downstairs to sit on the sofa and read to me, the way we always have.

I know it's inevitable that they will keep growing as readers, and that will mean growing away from me and my husband and the glorious times we've had reading together. And I realize that it is a slow process, and that we still will have many more hours of enjoying and sharing books read out loud. But I'm certain I won't be ready for it when that time comes -- when our reading-together days will be behind us, leaving only the occasional inquiry into what we are reading, or maybe a recommendation of a book or two. I know that is how it goes, and we are lucky they enjoy books so much, but it still makes me sad.

8 comments:

  1. This is such a bittersweet post :) I'm sure your daughter's memories of these early days of reading will always include you. You're the one who lit this fire of passion for reading in her and there will always be these great ties of books that the two of you will share. Unfortunately, they all grow up ;) But memories last...and I'm sure that "book chats" won't be disappearing anytime soon!

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  2. Yes, Chris, you are right. And bittersweet is definitely the word for it. Everyone says how fast they grow, and it constantly dismays me how right they are. My only comfort is that the kids keep getting better and better as they grow! If only time could just slow down a little.

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  3. virginia galJuly 13, 2007

    Darla...will you raise any kids I have?? You are an awesome mom!

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  4. VA Gal - aw, shucks (blush).

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  5. How very poignant this post is! It speaks to my inner heart so clearly, and I know EXACTLY how you feel. My son and I were always close, in the summer especially, doing everything together and having so much fun. Now he's sixteen, and I know he loves me. He acts much warmer than other sixteen year olds to their parents. But, he certainly doesn't want his mother around all the time. I have had to really learn (force myself) to step back and give him space. But, it hurts us as mother a little bit, even though we're glad to see their independence.

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  6. Thank you, Bellezza! It is ironic that, if we're doing our job right, they won't need us around at all at the end of the day. And the better we do our job, the more fun they are to be with, and the less they're around. Yikes, this parenting thing is way more complicated than I could ever have possibly imagined that day when I left the hospital with my first one, utterly astounded they'd leave someone as inexperienced and incompetent as I in charge of a brand new little baby! I'm glad to hear that your son is affectionate even at such an advanced age as 16! :-)

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  7. if it's this hard to have them no longer reading with you, imagine how sad it will be when they no longer want to snort lines of blow with you!

    :)

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  8. Thanks, Molly. You always help me keep things in perspective! You nut.

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