I’ve been tired, and not just the ‘give me my p.j.’s and a whole afternoon of pillows and zzzzzz’s tired’ (although that is certainly the truth as well), but the kind of tired thirsty for change. Let me explain this kind of tired. This kind of tired is the variety where the monthly calendar numbers are no longer visible because the daily to-do’s are crowding out the organization of the sleek black-lined boxes intended for order. The parent workshops, ministry meetings, soccer practices, dance lessons, pick-up and drop-off school schedules (between the preschool and the high school) and the random appointments throughout the days are overtaking any and all sense of time, spilling into the next day’s open opportunities. I guess I don’t need to ask the question, “where does it go?” when I have a blaring account of exactly where. Don’t get me wrong, I love almost everything on my calendar, except maybe the day where I have to call and wait on the line for my health insurance carrier to answer my question. Not running to post that one on the calendar, but for the most part I thoroughly enjoy my life and the freedom I have to be able to get so much done. So what’s the problem then?
With all of this running around, something’s gotta give (this goes beyond the funds flying from my wallet for gas), and this something is far too precious for me to pass on, for any reason. Quality time with my family, where is it in the midst of all this movement? I have been taking a parenting workshop for literacy and the development of little ones, but it has been beneficial for my older boy as well. In fact, something that has always been in my mind and on my heart is reading to my children. I have read them of mystical places and prolific poets, silly scenarios and love letters from my own lips, all before I actually met them and still today. But, I must admit, story time, although it is daily, can tend to be in haste, forced by the nighttime race. I love a good story, Fancy Nancy with all of her frills and love of vocabulary takes my daughter and me to a whimsical place where we can be all girly and, yes, even dad gets involved in this series.
Little Critter reminds me of the days when I, too, wished I had paws and lived in a world where elephants, giraffes and bunnies all mingled. When we nestle in for the night, I allow one to three stories plus a Bible snippet, depending on time. The closer it is to bedtime the shorter the selection, I hear the ‘awww, shucks” and sometimes I am thinking the same. I know how crucial this time of exploration and imagination is, and not just for the four year-old. My fourteen year-old will kind of hem and haw when I pull out his teen devotionals, but he soon burrows down and starts asking questions too.
So this week, after a workshop, I decided ‘this is it, I am gathering the troop and we are setting off on a voyage…to the master bed with a book.’ I wish I could say that the whole gang was giddy with anticipation and familial love, but I let my frustrations lead the way and came real close to ruining this goldmine before I even broke ground. My eldest tried to bring the cell phone onto our oasis and got huffy when I banned any technology from hitting the sheets. My littlest sat with her knees pulled up and in, eager for a tale. I had a few choices, a few of my favorites (naturally) that I thought would go over well with the wide span of age differentiation.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, BFG by Roald Dahl and, the winner (chosen after careful thought, okay after remembering how much fun rhyming really can be) Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I remembered how safe and warm and connected I felt to my grandma when she read The Giving Tree to me as a little one and, again, the other night when I read it, and cried again, to my littlest. That is the marker of a great story; it stays with you through everything.
As we all sat, sprawled and stayed for a while, time was arrested. We became the keepers and it quieted down, allowing us to enjoy the words and each other. For a little, while we connected, thirty years between us, of a love for story camped out on the family bed, introducing and reliving a wondrously wide world through Shel and his timeless tangled tales of Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout (and the importance of taking the garbage out, that one was specially selected for my teenager) and Melinda Mae (who took eighty years to eat a whale, because she said she would, as encouragement for my four year-old to consume something other than PB and honey sandwiches and to eat the entire thing at that). There was The Crocodile’s Toothache, Unicorn and Boa Constrictor (which I took as opportunity for pretend limb-gobbling). That went over well. Sure, my son still looked for the prefect prospect to hijack his phone, but we had a moment. And I have Mr. Silverstein to thank for it, again and again.
Sky Sanchez is a native Sacramentan. She writes, blogs, substitute teaches and tutors and is always on the lookout for one more job to add to her bursting at the seams schedule. When she is not at her computer or flipping through writer magazines, she is on all fours summoning her unicorn abilities for her three and a half year old or plugging in one half of the ear buds from her thirteen year old son’s IPOD, usually followed by “Ya, I like that, but turn it down”. She shares a partnership, both in business and by law, with her best friend and biggest fan and proofreader. She writes for The Sacramento Book Review and The San Francisco Book Review, and contributes to Sacramento Talent Magazine and Stories on Stage blog. She also scribbles out her own blogs at epicureanpc.wordpress.com and skysf.wordpress.com.