On the way to camp this morning, Nick read “Dig, Dogs, Dig” to Gabe.
Actually, he didn’t so much read as he did tear thru the text at breakneck speed, treating a 32-page pictures book like a ridiculously long run-on sentence.
I was appalled.
In our house, the written word – small w – is sacrosanct. We flip out if someone tosses, steps on, or otherwise disrespects a book. And when it comes to the stories within, we are word-shippers, regarding authors as the high prophets of prose.
I understand that Nick is in that precious middle ground between decoding words and delighting in reading. But still…where on earth had he learned to read like that?!
Then I remembered last night. How, at 8:30pm, after a full day of juggling house work, yard work, and work work, I was ready for these kids to be in bed because there were still several hours of house work, yard work and work work left to do. How, at 8:45pm, I was done playing cat herder to these Energizer Bunny boys (Olivia has wisely punched out at 7:30). How, at 9:05pm, these kids had better not pick one of those loooooong stories before bed –
It is on.
Thomas the Tank Engine ripped up the rails, clocking in at 2 minutes, 37 seconds. The Magic School Bus: Age of the Dinosaurs blazed thru the Mesozoic Era in under 5. As for lullabies? I did the theme to The Greatest American Hero by way of the FedEx Guy in under 30 seconds. At 9:15 those kids were in bed, lights off, with not a single peep till morning.
Check that task off the list.
Now, as I sped thru my second yellow light – yes, challenge accepted – I caught a look at myself in the mirror – and nearly ran us off the road. I looked like the black Cruella DeVil, right down to the crazy eyes and hair.
Why was I in such a rush to drop the kids off at camp where I wouldn’t see them for the next 7 hours…these kids who had taken their sweet time to find us, as months stretched to years of waiting for the phone to ring, letting us know that yes, a birth family had chosen us.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that we had held each of their tiny bodies in our arms
For the first genuine smile
The first tentative step
The first unprompted “I love you”
“Nana,” Nick called from the backseat, exasperated. “Gabe wants me to read the story again! Do we even have time?”
We have as much time as we allow ourselves, kiddo.
“Of course we do,” I replied, as I turned off of our direct route and onto a series of side streets that would add to our commute time. “There’s always time for family.”
As my driving pace slowed, so too did Nick’s reading. Even when we pulled into camp, I let the car idle while he finished the last few pages.
“Thank you for reading, Nick.”
“You’re welcome, Gabe.”
After Nick unbuckled his little brother, Gabe tackled him with a hug. I thought for sure that Nick would complain, eager as he was to get to camp. But instead, he squeezed his brother back, which of course, led to horseplay and non-stop giggling.
They were still laughing when they hopped out of the car, hand-in-hand, as they raced up the stairs.
Bonded by love.
There were a million things racing through my head – calls to return, laundry to finish…but right now they could wait.
There was only this moment, this memory, stretching to infinity.