Like most nights, I was sitting in the bedroom, listening to the sounds of the family coming in the open door. My laptop rested on my legs as I was stretched out, the words on the screen blurring from staring too long and the fatigue of my eyes. I could feel the breeze coming through the window above my head, the coolness of air that you only get in the early Fall. It was another night of homework and time away from the family.
She comes through the open door, her blonde hair falling to her shoulder and her shining eyes looking around. Her movements were apprehensive as she didn’t want to disturb me with her entrance. I looked over the screen to her and hid my smile as she crept across the room. Climbing into bed, she scooted up besides me and laid her head on my arm. Looking up at me with those bright blue eyes, her voice sounding small in the world of noise, she says, “Daddy will you read to me?” as she pulls a book she had hidden behind her.
My daughter is now the advanced age of four. She has a hectic life of adjusting to two homes since me and her mother parted ways a year ago. The resilience of youth is amazing to me even now. She has adapted with ease and looks to her, now common life, as something to expect and embrace.
All parents praise their child. That is just what we do. I am no different. I see each of the not-yet-adults in the house to be an amazing influence on my perspective of the world. They each remind me of the lessons that I may or may not have missed while growing up. My oldest, is on the cusp of becoming an adult and is walking through the minefield of learning responsibility for herself and her actions. The middle one is becoming a teenager with all of the newness of changes in mind and body. He is adjusting better than I think I did at his age. My youngest is absorbing the world with fresh eyes. She sees it as a new adventure, something to test and explore. All bring me back to the things, as adults, that we tend to forget.
Setting aside my laptop and thoughts of homework, I pull her closer to examine the her book of choice. Ah, tonight we will be reading Dr. Seuss and his comical adventures of Sam-I-Am, which is one of her favorites these days.
In a time when video games, television and computers dominate the hearts and minds of the youthful, along with some post-pubescent adults, my youngest has a craving for coloring, singing and reading. Her room looks like a library, with books upon all the shelves, mingling here and there with the stuffed animal of the week. Rarely does she get to sit in front of the TV to watch the latest animated commercial ridden programming in her weeks at the house. This is both by her choice and ours. Instead, she excitedly finishes up her post-dinner responsibilities and requests her coloring book as she lies on the living room floor and concentrates on staying in the lines.
I smile down at her as she sits up straight next to me in preparation for the coming story. I hold the book, using my knees as an easel, and start to read the familiar story. Before I can get the first syllable past my lips, she speaks the word on the cover. No, she hasn’t learned to read at an early age of four. As I said, it is one of her favorite book. We giggle as I open the cover for another journey in to Dr. Seuss’s world.
I look down as the pages turns, listening to her tell me the story from memory and from the pictures colorfully drawn in front of us. I think to myself, do I remember what it was like to be that eager to hear my parent’s voice as they read to me? That is one of the memories that are locked inside my head for later review.
As the last page turns and the words, The End are spoken, I dread the idea of going back to my homework. My little cautiously takes the book out of my hand and looks up at me.
“Will you read me another one, please?”
With a smile and all thoughts of the assignment that is due lost in the pile of discarded thoughts, I tell her that I would love to read another. She bounds out of the room in search of the next book as I smile to myself and think how wonderful it is to be home with my family.