My seven year old has always been a keen reader but in the last six months or so, she has really cracked it. I mean like big-words-and-chapter-books cracked it. She spends hours poring over her choices in the library each week and normally can’t even wait until we’re home to get her nose into them. It’s such a joy to behold honestly. But when she decided quite recently that she didn’t want me to read her a bedtime story any more because she wanted to read herself, I must admit that I felt completely redundant. It felt like such an end of an era.
I’ve read to all of my children, but this very much felt like our thing. When she was little, it was our time together every day without distraction from her rowdy big brother and sister. Then when her baby sister came along, it was time for just the two of us without any interruption from a screaming milk monster. So we compromised. And now she reads me a bedtime story.
I’ve gone from feeling redundant to once again looking forward to her bedtimes. Not only is it lovely to share that time together but she has also discovered Roald Dahl. So far we’ve had Fantastic Mr Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and now we’re on to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I can’t tell you the joy I get from seeing her enjoy the books that I once did as a child. I remember vividly being read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by my favourite teacher ever Miss Sphinx. She would read a chapter to us at the end of each day and funnily enough, I think I would have been about my daughter’s age at the time. I tell you something though, it’s just as good if not even better nearly thirty years later. Good old Roald Dahl.
As my children get older, especially when I look at my gangling teens, I realise that it wasn’t always the big milestones that meant the most. Sometimes it’s the small things that you take for granted along the way that you end up missing the most when they are gone. I honestly couldn’t tell you when I stopped reading to my teens at bedtime – that’s terrible isn’t it? But it obviously didn’t feel like such a big deal the first time around. It was just a natural progression. So I’m not sure why it felt like such a big deal this time? But it really did. I suppose I’m guilty of wanting to keep my youngest two babies for as long as possible because my teens have taught me just how quickly this time is over. Not that I didn’t enjoy my teens’ younger days, of course I did. That goes without saying otherwise I am quite sure that I wouldn’t have done it all over again. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I appreciate this time so much more the second time around as it were. And of course the end of an era can also mean the start of a whole new lovely era. That’s one thing that hindsight has definitely taught me.