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Rated: E · Prose · Family · #1646693
Mother and Son's Bedtime Reading Ritual.

Years ago I gave
my son a book. He read it
many, many times.

It’s nighttime, time for you to
go to sleep. Instead you fidget
and cry and I just don’t know
what to do. Finally I pick you up.
I hold you close to me and begin to
sway gently, back and forth.
Your crying finally subsides,
and I take you over to the
rocking chair. I hold you gently
and rub your back and coo
sweet nothings into your ear.

I sway slowly back
and forth. Your crying subsides.
I hold you gently.

Your little body becomes
limp, and you surrender to
the gentle motion, and
the beating of my heart.
It is a wonderful moment
for both of us. I feel so
comforted by the sound
of your breathing. I vow
never again to just let you
cry until you fall asleep,
as so many other mothers
have suggested I do.
“If you start it now, they’ll
expect it all the time,” they say.
As we rock back and forth,
I think to myself, what a
wonderful, gentle way to
fall asleep, though. So
every night we rock, and I
sing or whisper to him gently.

Hush, my baby, don't
you cry. I will sing you a
lullabye. Sleep, sleep.

Later we read books
together every night.
Even after he outgrew
his crib, moved into
his own little bed,
and we could no longer
fit in the rocking chair
together, we continued
to enjoy our little
nighttime ritual.

A is for Apple.
B is for Baby. We read.
Every night we read.

The books were bigger
then and he had a
fascination for trucks,
so for some time
we read about trucks.
We read about little
trucks, and big trucks,
and dump trucks, and
garbage trucks. We read
books about the kind of
truck that daddy drives,
and the big, big truck
that the nice man let you
sit in and blow the horn.

I like little trucks.
I like big trucks. I like all
trucks, but red ones best.

Then one day we were
reading the big truck book,
and you pointed to the words.
“I can read this to you,
Mommy,” you said, and we
slowly went through the pages.
He didn't get every word
right, so I helped him
sound out the words.
We spelled them and
talked about what they
meant, and soon he was
reading the book to me.

I can read this to
you, Mommy. See, that is the
word “truck.” I can read!

After that we went on
to other books, and I
would read to him
and then he would try
to read to me. One
night he became very
frustrated because we
were reading a new
book about dragons,
and it said it was an
“I Can Read By Myself”
book; but the words were
strange to him and he sat
there crying in frustration
because he couldn’t read the
story. So I hugged him and
we went through the words
and pictures, page by page,
until finally he had a new
book to read to me.

I can't do it! Tears
flowed. So we read, word by word,
and looked at pictures.

I was a sucker for any
child's book that I saw
that I thought he would
like - animal books
and car books and
Winnie-the-Pooh and
Wind In the Willows,
and many, many more.
We read them to each
other every night for years -
long after he could
easily read the books
on his own. Even
when he slept in a
big bed all by himself -
he still wanted the
bedtime story. “He’s
spoiled now,” people
would tell me. No,
that time together
was precious, and
I’ve never been sorry
we spent our evenings
together like that
for so many years.

Bedtime story time.
Such a special time for us.
Hold those moments close.

My son is a young
man now, about to
get married, and
we’ve not read together
for many years. He still
loves to read, though.
He has his favorites:
Lord of the Rings,
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the
Galaxy, Catch-22. He
has a wonderful
imagination. When
he was little and we
read together, I used
to tell him that as
long as he could read,
he could go anywhere
in the universe he wanted.

Imagine the whole
universe is yours, and you
can go anywhere.

This year he gave me
a special present for
my birthday - a brand
new copy of The
Ultimate Hitchhiker’s
Guide. He enclosed
a card, which read:
Long ago, I borrowed
a book from you. I've
had this book of yours
for a very long time.
This is a special book
for me, now. It has,
over the course of
many years and for
better or worse, been
a critical tool in the
shaping of who I am
today. It has become
a near sacred tome
for me. It is very old
now, and lies in tatters -
dog-eared, spine
broken, mended, and
broken again from
re-readings beyond
count. I'm giving you
a new copy of the
book – it's just like the
copy you loaned to me.

Happy birthday, Mom.
I love you. And I love you,
too. More than you know.

I'm beginning to think
we're on our way to
closing the circle. I took
care of him for so many
years, and the time will
come - not too soon, I
hope - when he might
have to take care of me.
I hope I'll never need that,
but I know he'll be there
for me if I do - and if my
eyesight is not good,
or if I should become
childlike, I hope he will
sit with me at night and
read me a story.

Come, sit, stay a bit
and read to me. I want to
go away someplace.

© Copyright 2010 Victoria Oliver (renateb1 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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