Monday, June 21, 2010
I went to a baby shower this weekend which meant I had to buy the gift for said shower Friday. I eschewed the registries and hit Barnes and Noble. The mom-to-be got a bag stuffed with books, classics all. (Where is this going and how is it connected to Father's Day? Have patience.)
I started with the classic that every young child's library should have - Good Night Moon (in a board book, so bonus!), added Caps for Sale (also a board book), Yertle the Turtle and other stories (my favorite Dr Seuss book) and finished with I'll Love You Forever (which if you aren't a weeping puddle by the end, you have no soul).
We read to our girls. A lot. Since both were with us this weekend for Father's Day, I even got to confirm my memories. Good Night Moon was Eldest's favorite and Caps for Sale was Youngest's when they were little. Hubby and I shared bedtime story duties when the girls were little and the stories short. As they got older, the stories got longer. We eventually graduated to chapter books like James and the Giant Peach and The Phantom Tollbooth. By then, the girls preferred that Hubby do most of the reading.
He had a knack. His readings were much more dramatic, with voices and expression. Mine were not. He would read to them for far longer than I had the stamina to duplicate as well. Sometimes I even hung around to listen. And he read to them for far longer than the average Dad.
The girls were 7 and 9 when the Harry Potter books first came out. Hubby read the first three books out loud to them. In their entirety with voices and correct pronunciation of Hermione, no less. He would read these stories to them for an hour at a time. It was amazing. Think about it, would you still want a bedtime story at age 11? Eldest did.
These same kids would later buy the rest of the series for themselves and read it in one sitting. Each of those later books was read in one frenetic burst of late night reading. Yet they listened to the first three one or two chapters at a time for weeks. It wasn't rare for me to stick my head in and tell him to wrap it up, it had been over an hour and they really did need to get to sleep. My pronouncements were usually met with groans from all three.
It wasn't just the Harry Potter series that my husband read to them. He read Roger Zelazny's Amber Chronicles series and others that I can't recall. In short, he read to them for as long as they would let him. Long after I thought was too long.
At the time, it seemed indulgent. Now, it's something that the girls remember with fondness. Something that they will do with their children, I suspect. And isn't that what it's all about? Creating memories and traditions.
Happy Father's day (belated). You done good, babe.