Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's the Little Things

Tonight, while Ethan was at prayer meeting, I sat on the floor at the end of my bed and sorted socks. Kids were dashing in and out of my room, completing one task and rushing back in for the next (or a reminder..."What was I supposed to do again?"). Jonathan (3) sat next to me on the floor and chatted away, absent-mindedly rolling pairs of mismatched socks.

I decided he needed a new task. "Go get me a book to read to you," I said. I don't think he was the one who hurried downstairs and picked out The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies; but whoever it was, I found myself holding the detached cover in one hand and the rest of the book in the other, trying to figure out from the torn first page the ending to the first line of the italicized lesson.

We finished the book (thankfully without any more torn pages), and the kids begged for another. "Just one more! Just one more!" they chanted. (It does occur to me now that the entire lesson of the book may have gone unheeded.)

"No, no," I said. "We'll have time to read tomorrow."

"Mom? Could I read to them a little before bed?" asked Benjamin. "I mean, if they want me to."

Everyone loudly agreed, and I succumbed. I unrolled Jonathan's pile of socks and started re-matching, expecting to hear Ben's voice on the bed behind me reading The Seven Silly Eaters, our current favorite picture book.

Instead, I heard his voice, clear and unrushed:

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'

He continued to read, giving the appropriate lagomorphic voice to Alice in Wonderland's White Rabbit and a convincing young girl's to Alice's lengthy soliloquy.

I was enchanted.

The children were enchanted.

It was so sweet, so tender, so fleeting. The chapter ended, everyone begged for more, and Ben sternly said, "That was quite a long enough chapter. It'll give you something to look forward to tomorrow. Let's get in bed. I'll pray for the boys, and Lily can pray for the girls."

He's ten now, this oldest of ours. Sometimes he's an exasperating ten, with a Tom Sawyerish knack for turning his chores into envied tasks: "I LOVE doing the kitty litter. It's fun to see how many treasures are in there!" and a propensity for martyrdom (do not ask my husband where he gets this).

But sometimes, many times, he causes a freeze-frame in all of the harriedness. Something he does or says jars me from the rushing and slows me down or time down or both for just a second.

I don't always notice. I probably don't even usually notice.

But tonight I did. And I cherished it.


  1. Very nice post. I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. You have a beautiful family.

  2. This is absolutely lovely. I hope my children are like that someday. You and Ethan are doing a great job with them. :)

  3. Aw, sweet memories...
    It's those moments that get me through the more common, harried, frenzied moments and make me thankful.


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