There are many things I really miss about parenting little ones. Reading together is probably the thing I miss the most, however. We spent a lot of time on the couch reading when our kids were little. And a lot of time during the holiday season. Darling Daughter and #1 Son are pretty well grown up now, however, and I’m left with several bookshelf feet of Christmas books.
This year, I decided to do a special advent calendar for them. Each day of advent there was a Christmasy quote from literature, heavy on our Christmas picture books. And chocolates. I told them they could work together across the miles between Minneapolis and Boston to identify the book and then eat the chocolate as their prize.
“Who is coming to our house?”
“Someone, someone,” says mouse.
And to their mother’s great delight, they’ve done just that. Only occasionally clarifying with me or googling to jog their memory.
“I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound
in the gaieties which that season generally brings.”
There’s been a lot of remembering of illustrations or plot, but not the name of the book. Darling Daughter thinks there was only one she couldn’t immediately picture. #1 Son said there have a been a few he just had no idea. (He’s had more Christmases without perusing the Christmas picture book collection than his younger sister.) I jokingly said I hoped he denied himself the chocolate on those days. “Yeah, burned it as penance,” he said.
He muttered to himself: “My joints. My gout. My sciatica.”
Aloud he said grandly: “Give me your gift.”
#1 Son’s girlfriend — a reader as a child and adult — said it was more difficult not having grown up with the game creator…but she’s named her fair share, I think.
“Hey! Unto you a child is born!” she hollered,
as if it was, for sure, the best news in the world.
I can’t tell you how much fun this was to put together. A stack of books by the fire, finding just the right quotes, tiny slips of paper holding cozy book memories. Even if the kids had hated the whole thing it would’ve been totally worth it. I asked them if it was fun or one of those things that Mom thought up that was just a bit much.
“I’m having fun,” said #1 Son.
“Very fun!” came the reply from Darling Daughter. “One of things I’ve missed most about December since moving to college is all the Christmas books at home. It’s been fun to reminisce on the stories from afar.”
Jonathan sat down in his rocking chair and held the picture against his chest. He rocked slowly, his eyes closed. Two tears trailed into his beard. When he finally took the picture to his workbench and began to carve, his fingers worked quickly and surely. He carved all through the night.
My husband and I have been reading through the quotes one-at-a-time at dinner, as well. I know the sources, of course, but it’s fun to watch him try to pull a fuzzy memory of a beloved picture book we read every single night during advent 20 years ago.
The joy factor for this Red Reading Boots mama has been high this year.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!