opening books together

“I’d rather stay home with Mom.” I’m not even joking, these are the exact words out of Sam’s mouth when we asked him to get ready to go to Club Riot, the Wednesday evening meeting for kids every March and October. The girls love it. Sam always opts to stay home.

I thought he’d go this time around.
Is it bad that a little part of me is glad he turned it down again to stay home with me?

Before the rest of the family was even out of the garage, Sam and I were snuggled on the couch with a nonfiction book about hurricanes. “I’ve been waiting for you to get to read this one with me,” he said. “Now’s a perfect time because we won’t be rushed.” I’m not even joking, he wanted to stay home to read together — not because he thought he’d get extra iPad time.

We read some and talked some, read some and talked some. The talk was about hurricanes, but other things too. He told me stories about recess and math, this friend and that, tornadoes and the way they are the same and different from hurricanes.

We read some and talked some. He asked me about heaven. It surprised me.

“Do you think we’ll be sad when we die?”

“No, we won’t be sad. You aren’t sad in heaven.”

“What does it feel like to go to heaven?”

“I don’t know.”  I’ve thought a little about it, but not a lot.

“Does anyone know?”

“Some people do. Another teacher at school was telling me about a book he’s reading about a little boy who had emergency surgery and went to heaven. He lived after the surgery and told his parents about what he experienced. Then they wrote his story. The book is called Heaven is for Real.”

“Have you read it?” I’m beginning to think Sam has thought about going to heaven a lot more than I have.

“No. Do you want to read it?”

“Do you have it?”

“No, but I could get it if you want to read it.”

He looked up at me, his blue eyes wide. “Of course I want to read it. You know I love books.”

I smiled. “I’ll get a copy then.”

“Thanks, Mom. That’s a good thing about our family. We get books.”

Then he turned the page of the hurricane book in our laps. He read the sidebar information aloud. I tried to concentrate, but it was hard snuggled against this remarkable reader. From hurricanes to heaven and back to hurricanes. Later he will be snuggled in his own bed, reading book one of Harry Potter.

In the swirl of a family of six sometimes it’s hard to find quiet moments to snuggle with just one child and a book. It’s a moment I will treasure. I know there will come a time when he will not choose me over an evening with friends. There will come a time when he will not want to snuggle under the same blanket as me.There will come a time when he won’t have the time to sit and talk for over an hour.

Until then, I’m going to keep opening books and listening to him read and talk, talk and read. And I’m ordering this tonight. Maybe if we keep opening books together he’ll keep talking to me.

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Life Story Challenge.

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  1. I loved reading about your special time with your son. I especially loved the conversation about heaven…so real. That's exactly how those conversations play out. Your writing brought back my snuggly book memories with my children who are now teens. Beautiful!

  2. Such a special evening. I'm glad you had these quiet moments with Sam tonight, snuggling, reading, and talking. It's amazing how opening a book together opens the door to so much more.

  3. Another gorgeous snapshot of an amazing mom! Beautiful! I've read the adult version of the book. I always love the stories of people's lives.

  4. What a perfect evening together. I agree, even with two, it's so hard to get that time individually, but so essential to the connection and growth of our little people! I love the questions that are just tossed out there out of pure curiosity and wonder. I've read the book and loved it. What an awesome story to share with your children. It will strike a chord.

  5. I loved this post from the beginning because of the image of how special the opportunity to have one on one time in a quiet house would be. Then came the last line and I loved it even more.

  6. Aww, thanks for sharing this little moment with Sam. I could see the two of you snuggling together. Felt like I was peeking in from a corner of the room.

  7. Savor those moments. If you keep reading together, he will keep talking. My kids are 14 and 17 and we are still reading together– only more often than not we are not reading at the same time. For instance we all read “Heaven is for Real,” (even their dad read it!) and we couldn't wait until we had all finished it so we could talk about it together. It is one of my biggest joys to discuss books with my kids– especially those that make us think. From “The Book Thief” to “The Hunger Games” trilogy– I am always on the lookout for books I can put into their hands that we can talk about. It is one more way to keep us connected.

    Thanks for sharing. As always, you inspire me.

  8. Although I suspect you are right about Sam growing beyond the cuddle beneath a blanket phase, I am confident he will grow into lots of new ways to connect with you–and I am confident they will involve story.

  9. This is such a precious time for you and Sam. I'm sure everyone of your kids will come back home to see you and Andy,for the love and the books.

  10. Thank you for sharing…such a precious intimate moment. My own once upon a time little boy (now 20) has a lot of free time on his hands at his new job & is getting pretty philosophical. He came home last night and said “I finally get this hat…it's like life. It's free but you only get one. You might drop it in the mud but you just pick it up and put it back on.”

    His hat says…”Free hat, limit one.”
    It wasn't snuggling under a blanket, but just as precious…my how those interactions change over the years!

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