“Mum, can you read us a story? PLEASE?!?!?!”
Every night, we have a very strict routine. Dinner around 5.30pm, followed by bath at 6pm. Bath time often goes for a good 20-30 minutes, as the 4 kids hop in the bath together and play with the numerous dinosaurs, animals, and Barbie Mermaids that reside along the edges. Once they are out, they get dressed and hop onto my bed. It’s a super-king-sized bed, so it fits them all quite easily.
I have a large pile of books beside my bed. They have all migrated from each of the kids’ rooms, mostly because they are favourites. But now that we have discovered our local library, a few “borrowed books” have joined the pile. Actually, a lot of borrowed books have joined the pile. But I digress. . .
On most nights, by the time the kids are out of the bath I’m pretty flustered. With their bickering and whingeing, and the fact that their tiredness translates into grumpiness, it’s a pretty stressful and chaotic time. It results in me telling them they’ll have “only one story tonight”. But, once they are all dressed they pile onto the bed with 3 or 4 books, and become so attentive and excited that I end up reading all of them.
Tonight, I was trying to get a few things done and the kids were ready for story-time before I was. So, as per usual, they assumed their positions on the bed and Charlyse decided that she would read the first book. And she did it beautifully, with her different character voices and perfect pronunciation. The other three kids just listened and watched, as intently as they usually do with me. It was beautiful, one of those moments when you suddenly realise that your child is well and truly growing up. And, truth be told, it made me a little bit sad as well, knowing that there will come a day when none of them will clamber onto my bed and beg me to read to them.
I will miss these special moments. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy every single story I read to them, as much as they enjoy hearing them. Because I have learnt, over the years, that these moments are not to be wished away or taken for granted. They are to be treasured and remembered.