Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pay offs

Emma possibly was born interested in words and books.

When Braeden was in 2nd-3rd grade (with effort on my part) he became a bookworm in his own right.

Mark has never (unless Lego instructions were involved) wanted to even look at a book.  He is a good reader, he just wasn't interested.

Adam said, "Maybe that's OK.  If he can read, he'll do fine in school.  Why does he have to be a reader?"

The teacher in me would answer that he needed to be a reader to increase his spelling and vocabulary skills and to teach him more about the world.

But the reader in me just wants my children to be readers.  I want them to enjoy one of the great joys in my life.

It has not been an easy battle.  Mark has never exhibited interest in reading.  He complained bitterly during silent reading time.  He would ask every few minutes if we could be done.  I absolutely persisted.

And guess what?

He packed a bag of books for our trip all on his own and read them.  We drove to IKEA yesterday and all I saw in my rear view mirror was the top of his ginger head.  His nose was in a book.  He sneaks away to read.  He is completely silent during silent reading time and ignores me when I close my book and say time is up.

It feels like one of my most important accomplishments.  Imagine if I cared that much and put that much persistence into keeping my kids' rooms clean?  (I try to care that much, but I don't.)

I recognized another payoff of sorts at IKEA.  This one, I didn't really do much to earn.  It just happened with the passage of time.  In line for lunch, Emma and Mark murmured their desires for lunch then sauntered to a table in the corner.  The mother in front of me, with two children had a discussion with one, "Do you want a juice box?"

"I don't like juice boxes."

"Do you want milk?"

"Is it soy milk?  Can I have soy milk?"

"No.  Do you want chocolate milk?"

"I want soy milk."

"They don't have soy milk."

The other child, the younger sister, grabbed everything off the tray as soon as the mom placed it there and tried to pry open the applesauce before her mom took it away.  I smiled at the mom.  I remembered those days.  (Except my kids never requested soy milk.)  I joined my own two with a tray full of IKEA goodness, complete with a piece of chocolate cake to split three ways.  They were laughing.  Emma told me that Mark was hilarious.  I slid into my chair and wondered why a truce in their usual mild bickering had been called.  For whatever reason, I was going with it.  We had a peaceful and pleasant lunch.  Mark was indeed funny and so was Emma and the chocolate cake was good.

We walked through the store and I thought how much easier my life was than a few years ago.  I was flanked by my two sturdy kids that can lift heavy things (handy at IKEA) and provide good conversation and make me laugh.

Then I remembered the other kid.  The one who's gone for the week.  The one we have been missing every day.

It's not such a fabulous pay off when they get big if they're just going to leave.

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