Tuesday, July 29, 2014


We had a thunderstorm last night. A big one. The kind where you anticipate the huge boom seconds after the room shines from a bolt of lightning, the kind where the windows rattle when that boom comes and you wonder how homes can withstand the vibration. And while I enjoy those kinds of storms and can sleep through them like the dead, I know that’s not true for everyone.

At some point during the night, the noise woke my daughter and she came into my room, which she almost never does. She asked me if she could hang out for a while (or so she told me this morning, since I have no recollection of our conversation). I guess I mumbled yes through my semi-comatose state. What I do remember is glancing at her through one open eye a little while later to see if she was still there.
She was. She couldn’t fall back asleep, had taken out her tiny book light and was reading. The sight made me way too happy.
Lately, with camp, the beach and just summertime life in general, my kids haven’t been reading as much as I would like. They watch me writing a lot, and as a result, their interest in writing stories has increased, so much that I find random pages scattered throughout the house, followed by the question, “Mom, can you staple these?” And though I love that, I don’t want it to come at the expense of their reading.
Whenever we get a chance, we try to have a family reading time, where we sit together and read our own books. But to me, reading shouldn’t be a scheduled activity. It should be, and for me has always been, something you can’t wait to do when you have downtime. I very badly want it to be that for them, instead of automatically turning on the TV or an ipad when they’re looking for an activity.
So when I saw that her reaction to not sleeping was to pick up the book she was reading earlier in the day, even though she could have easily gotten away with playing a handheld video game on mute, my heart fluttered. I didn’t let her know I saw her, but I watched in silence for a few minutes before drifting back to my dreams.
The storm must have ended or her fear must have passed because when I woke up it was sunny and she was gone. This morning, when she casually brought up her book, discussing a part she found exciting, I nodded and shared her enthusiasm for the story.
And while she was telling me she couldn’t wait to see what happened next, I was secretly contemplating all the ways I could simulate another thunderstorm after she goes to bed tonight.

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