Friday, April 11, 2014

A Slow Letting Go...

Ahhh.. spring is here.  What a joy!  We are back outside.  John is so happy.  He can't get enough of being outside.  He runs down to the swing, plays in the sand, rides in his little car and just walks all over the place and explores.  He is keeping up with his big brother and big sister.

In the spring, we see signs of new life everywhere.  I love experiencing the change of the seasons with my children.  Every year, I watch them grow and grow on this adventure of life.  Each change of season brings a change in their growth.  It is a change that moves forward and and never looks back.

Well, I look back continually because I am shocked at how fast the time goes by.

They look back continually because they constantly notice the new things they can do and they like to say that they couldn't do that way back when!

The seasons, however, are so cyclical and repetitive.  There are constants all around us.  The years keep passing with confidence that the next season will follow.  It is so different with us.  What causes the seasons to change?  It is not only the rotating earth but the orbiting of the earth as well.  Even when we are sitting still, we never stop moving.  No wonder we marvel at how fast time goes by.  We are NEVER really sitting still!

So watching my children grow is somewhat of the opposite of how all of nature works.  Everything happens in a cycle... the life cycle, the water cycle, the seasons, night and day, the clock ticking.  However, watching my children grow and develop is like a slow letting go and a progression that only moves forward.  With every spring that comes around, I have to let go a little bit more to all the things they did the year before.  I also get to welcome the new things they learn to do and the new way they look at things from year to year.

With all that change and growing comes the joy of reading aloud.  I have been reading books aloud to them since birth.  Experiencing the library and story time for the first time is a joy.  Checking out their first little board books is a memory I have with all three of them.   I love holding their hands as we cross the street in the crosswalk to get to the front door of the library.  First I bring them in the baby carrier and stroller, then leave all that in the car, then carry them, then they can walk in the crosswalk while holding hands, and THEN they can eventually just cross the street themselves while I am following right behind.

I think every single thing about being a parent can be compared to this simple example of crossing the street!  It is a slow letting go.  No matter what the situation, it is a slow letting go.

We have read many chapter books aloud so far this year.  In particular, we have enjoyed the author Roald Dahl.  So here comes my sad admission.  Here comes my confession.  I am embarrassed to admit that I had NO idea that Roald Dahl was the author of a BOOK called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  No idea whatsoever.  I thought it was a silly, weird movie my whole life.  I had no idea that the story came from the imagination of a creative mind who actually wrote stories for children to enjoy.

I have read two other of Roald Dahl's books this year so far.  They are Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.  I have to say that reading those first gave me a much better understanding of the characters and overall story in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Reading these books aloud to my children has absolutely captivated me.  To see their reactions to the characters, the humor, and the plot just amazes me every time.  They HANG on every single word I read.  They beg for another chapter as soon as one ends.  Their jaws drop at a suspenseful part and they genuinely laugh at the humor.  Right now, we are just at the part where Charlie is hoping to find a golden wrapper inside that chocolate bar.  They are just riveted!!

Reading the books first and THEN watching the movies is the way to go.  The movies, in my opinion, can NEVER live up to what it is like to read the story.  After I read the stories, I do watch the movies with my children.  What a great discussion follows!  When we were watching the movie of James and the Giant Peach, Carmen had the book in her lap and she followed along!  It was adorable to see her compare what happened in the actual story to how different the details were in the movie.  When you experience the book first, watching the movie can feel like somewhat of a violation of your intellectual property.  Nothing can replace or even enhance the imagination.  It is truly powerful.

So while I slowly let go, I will continue to cherish every moment I have with my children so close. Reading aloud is a family activity that has has made my life more magical, more inspiring and more awe-filled than I ever could have imagined.  No show on Netflix can ever accomplish that. :)

This is what happens when you spend so much time reading aloud to your children from their birth.  You foster independent readers! Carmen is even wearing her ear muffs to block out the background noise. :)

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