It happened and I wasn’t ready.
I never am.
I prepare for it, I even aim toward it knowingly.
And then one day, BAM! It’s happening and I can’t stop it.
My kid is starting to read.
Last night it pricked my heart. Again.
I’ve gone through this with all four of my kids now. This moment of independent growth. This breaking-away accomplishment. Gosh, it hurts.
Especially now, with the last one…
You know, people say things about the baby of the family being treated as though they were more special. I understand that now. I understand because as I go through life with my youngest daughter everything that happens for the first or last time–while thoroughly being enjoyed as a memory particular to that child–flashes me back to firsts and lasts with my other children. And my love that I feel for all of them, and my grateful heart to even have had these moments with them, rushes forward joyfully shouting, My children, I love you! My child, I love you…
And so it went last night.
While reading a book about sharks.
Suddenly Cranberry was saying the words. So I let her.
And I hugged her and watched her smiling face beam back at me, Dad, I can read!
And she could. Not memorized. She was reading.
And soon, probably within a year, I won’t be choosing children’s books at the library anymore. She’ll be picking them herself. Reading them herself.
That’s what my other kids do now.
My every-night routine is nearly gone.
I learned how to teach my kids how to read from my dad. He would click on the lamp light, sit my brother and me down on either side of him, and read to us from classic Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comic books. Mom would sit in the recliner, watching us and smiling and laughing with us even though she couldn’t see the pages. Every so often there would be an outrageous drawing and Ben would belly laugh so hard we’d have to stop and say, “Show Mom!” And she’d laugh too.
We loved it. Any time Dad brought a new comic home, we’d shovel down dinner and race to the couch.