October 27, 2003

The loss of our friends... As many of you know we are in the process of trying to sell our home. We are avid readers here and the amount of books in our home is wonderful and ever growing. However, our realtor did not see it the same way. So we packed up many boxes of books to head off to storage, we took down two of our bookshelves and did not even refill the one bookshelf we still have out. I have a hard time each time I look at the shelf and see four books and a ceramic bowl or the other shelf with maybe a dozen books and a basket and photo. I feel like I am living in someone else's home and I miss all my "friends". I don't think I realized how often I go and pick up a book until they are not here, I miss them (I even miss the ones I don't really read) and the lack of books has changed the feel and personality of my home.

We stood our ground on the kids books and they still fill the house in baskets strewn throughout and on the bookshelf in the basement that Serona built. But my house feels so empty - which can also be attributed to the fact that I returned our library books and I am sure they were happy to see 50-70 books coming back to their library! So what did we do tonight? We went to a bookstore to buy more books of course!

We were in the children's section of the bookstore and I found myself in a challenging moment. No Ciaran did not throw a temper tantrum but I could not get my children to leave because they were too busy reading (well truly looking at the pictures) books. The sales clerk came back and witnessed my children sprawled out on the floor flipping through books, returning them to the shelf and picking out another. We were there for almost an hour and I really did need to leave, but how do you justify making your children stop reading? The sales clerk simply said " You don't" and we waited a bit longer and then they got their "last book" - so of course Rhiannon picked up the thickest longest book she could find and sat down to read. It just made me smile even though I was ready to go.

It is like at night time - somehow books manage to levitate and hide themselves in the top bunk where she sleeps no matter how many times we clear them out. The other night she was forced to empty them all and there were over a dozen hidden in various places (under her pillow, tucked at the foot of the bed under the blanket, between the comforter and the sheets, in her dolls dress and so on). As much as I want to be mad I can't help but smile as she is so much our daughter. Both Serona and I were guilty as children of reading by the light from the crack of the door or hiding flashlights or reading by streetlights - so why should we expect our children to be any different? A friend of mine once suggested we have a set bedtime and then allow them to read as long as they would like. However that means my children would be up forever! Rhia can fight sleep in amazing ways - the only thing that seems to work is boring her to sleep. I tried this strategy and she is up well past 11pm! Maybe when she can actually read the words will help her fall asleep - but if she takes after me or Serona she will fight sleep to finish one more chapter that always becomes half a book!

But all this has made me realize how thankful I am that we are "book people" and that we are raising a family of readers. I hope my children will find as much enjoyment out of reading as we do and as much as they enjoy being read to I think we are well along that path. Now if I could only convince Rhia that she does need to learn her phonics to read (she just wants to sight read - telling me the phonetic sounding out of words is NOT what the words sound like when you read them) than we would be making progress.

So when you go to sleep tonight and see all the books that surround you be thankful for your "friends" and realize how much we miss ours!


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