Apparently something I need to work on- there are at least five partial posts sitting in reserve, probably never to see the "publish" button, and now I've started a sixth. There are so many things that I want to get done, but it seems more and more lately that I run out of time or energy or both before I get anywhere close to accomplishing my growing list of to do's.
I fell into a happy accident over the weekend, however- on a rushed trip through our favorite used bookstore I stumbled across a copy of The Enormous Egg... It was a nice sized paperback copy, and as soon as I realized what it was and that it was in good condition I didn't let it out of my sight until the nice lady at the counter slipped it into the bag with a handful of other children's books and cheerfully rang up our five dollar purchase.
It's a dangerous thing to get your hopes up about your offspring loving something from your childhood, especially if there's a great deal of sentimental value attached to it. I had a pang the other day when the Small turned down a fabulous vintage metal lunchbox with the original Sesame Street gang on it in favor of a plain purple cloth bag... Stupid, really, but I had gotten myself geared up on the idea that a metal lunchbox would be sturdier and longer lasting than the new bags that are all the rage now, and how could anyone say no to Bert and Ernie? She was very polite about it when I showed her the options available, but my shoulders sagged a bit as she gently told me "no thank you, Mommy". I'm truly a lover of classic and vintage, and I had visions of the aisles of pink and purple plastic Disney Princess and Tinkerbell garbage they sell at all the big box stores and realized that I may have to resign myself to the idea that Small prefers that style and I'll just have to deal with it.
With that thought in mind, I was somewhat hesitant about starting The Enormous Egg as a bedtime story. I had first heard the book in second grade when our teacher read it aloud to us, chapter by chapter over the course of a few weeks, and I loved it. I hadn't read it since, but to this day the plot is irrevocably etched in my memory. I had begun reading chapter books in first grade, so I didn't think it was outside Small's attention span, but I was prepared to get another polite "no, thank you" in favor of the latest Disney princess trash borrowed from the local library and geared myself up for another mild disappointment.
After tonight's two chapter marathon (with a scratchy voice and sore throat from the lingering virus I picked up last week), the munchkin practically BEGGED me to continue on to the next chapter, since the egg hadn't hatched yet. When I begged off, pleading fatigue and promising to continue tomorrow night, she asked if we could have just one chapter in the morning, instead of having to wait ALL DAY.
This- sitting in the rocker while Small listens intently and carefully pores over the occasional black and white illustration- is exactly what I'd hoped for when I found out she was on her way. If I was going to have to pick one tradition to keep, JUST ONE, it would be nightly story time. There's a timelessness in reading aloud (particularly a classic story), and for a moment we're part of this unending chain of mothers and daughters who have all participated in the bedtime story ritual- the low murmur of voices and the rustle of turning pages, capturing and enticing the imagination while at the same time easing from the business of the day to the stuff of dreams. Such a simple thing, and possibly the most meaningful and important thing I've accomplished in many weeks.