Category Archives: Storytime

And the Tree was Happy

“Let’s read this book, Mom,” he said, handing me The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

Now that the Big One is 7, he reads books to me.  This is new and something I cherish.  Hearing him sound out words and use the punctuations to properly set the tone, I can see his growth and development unfold in front of me.  In second grade, they are working on comprehension, whereas in first grade, they worked on reading the words.  His schoolwork focuses on being able to recall and explain what he’s read and when he reads with me, I try to ask him questions to see how much he understands and whether he is digesting the words he takes in.

As a parent, both his dad and I have reluctantly read this book to our children.  We can barely get to the part with the boy wanting a house without starting to tear up.  Little Guy went through a period, around age 3, when he wanted it read to him every night.  “My favorite book,” he’d say, “is ‘The Gibbing Twee’, by Silverware.”  How could you not read it to someone who calls it that?

Tonight, after his brother went to bed, Big One crawled into bed with me and started to read.  I wondered what type of questions I could ask him.  Maybe talk about empathy, being considerate of others, taking and giving…what I hadn’t anticipated was that he understood more deeply than I could have imagined.

“Do you have any money? The boy asked the tree.”

“That isn’t very nice. He shouldn’t just show up and ask for money.”

When he got to the part of the story where the boy said he wanted a house, his voice cracked a little.  He kept reading, but I could tell he was starting to cry.  I promise you, it was at the EXACT same spot both his dad and I start feeling emotional.  He put the book down, looked away and told me he needed to go to the bathroom.  Sneaking up to the bathroom door, I heard him crying (and peeing) and sniffling.  I rushed away and back into my bed before he could discover that I was listening and he came back.  I asked him if he was okay.  I asked him if he wanted to talk about how he felt.  He said he didn’t, because he didn’t know.  “Do you want to keep reading?” I asked.  He did.

When the boy wanted a boat and said he was sad, Big One stopped again and just bawled.  He cried and hugged me so tight and said, “Why am I crying?”  I held him and said, “Oh my love, just cry.”

At the end of the story, we talked.  It made him sad that the tree was always there and he didn’t think the boy appreciated it.  He said he thought the boy used the tree.  He said that he thought the boy was a jerk.  I really appreciated his point of view, and offered that while I saw where he was coming from, I looked at it differently.  I explained that I saw the tree as the parent who was always there and that the boy needed the tree in different ways as he grew and that was exactly as it should be.  This may have been too much for my little Big One, because he cried even more.  He told me that he would never leave me for so long and that he’d give me things since I give him things.  I don’t think I could have put into words how much he had already given me.  I mean, I could have pointed out that when I buy him ice cream and then he doesn’t do what I ask, he’s kinda being a boy wanting the tree’s apples, but that would have really been a jerk move.  I mean, this kid GOT IT.  He has empathy.  He really WANTS to do nice things for the people he loves.  But he’s also 7 and doesn’t fully have a grasp on his actions, nor should he.  As his mom, I understand and accept that he will take from me and I will give and give and love being there for him, knowing that his appreciation may be difficult to always see.   I put him to bed and after a few minutes, he came back into my room a few minutes.  He asked, “could we just cuddle a little more?”

And the boy loved the tree, very much, and the tree was happy.

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Filed under Motherhood, parenting, Storytime

Vintage Friends

I’ve written before about my addiction to Facebook, but one thing I truly love is being able to stay connected to friends new and old.  Actually, I prefer to call these friends, “Vintage”.  One of the definitions of the word (as defined by Merriam-Webster) is ” a collection of contemporaneous and similar persons or things”.  Ok, so I had to look up contemporaneous, but whatever.  I think it is a great way to describe some of the friends I get to keep in touch with via Facebook.  Whether it is my friends from college or from my hometown, I get to see what goes on in their lives today, what’s important to them, their politics (whether I agree or not) and pictures of them and their families.  I also get to wish them happy birthday.

Today, two of my most vintage friends celebrate birthdays.  When I think of them, I smile a lot.  I laugh a lot, too.  I have so many memories collected, like a giant scrapbook in my mind.  We used to sleep over at one of the girl’s house on Saturday nights a lot.  We’d make pizza rolls and her parents went out for dinner.  We thought we were big shots, having the house to ourselves, but really, I think her parents just didn’t want her to be home alone.  We’d play records in the living room- Michael Jackson’s, Thriller comes to mind- and make up dances.  A couple of the boys from the neighborhood would sneak over, banging on the window, trying to scare us.  They succeeded exactly zero times.  These were nice boys from the suburbs and sorry fellas, but they weren’t menacing in the least.  These were the boys your mom wanted you to date, to grow up and marry.  They still are, I know, because I get to see them on Facebook too.

I’m lucky to have these memories.  I grew up in a nice neighborhood, filled with nice families and at a time where we had a lot of freedom.  We could get on our bikes and ride to each others houses and talk when we needed to.  We wrote each other notes about loves lost and stupid algebra class and other important things to a kid.  As we grew, we rode around in our parents’ cars and listened to the radio too loud.  And when we went off to college, we hoped life wouldn’t change too much.  Of course it did, but now we can reconnect and share our lives again.  Even though the connection is mostly through hitting ‘like’ on a comment or picture, we stay in each others lives.

Recently, I went through a hard time and a couple of these women reached out to me personally, just to say hi and tell me that they were still around to listen.  I was so touched, because it reminded me that no matter how many years may pass, they we remain important to each other because we are part of one another’s history.  Vintage, to me, suggests a level of quality and history and these friends are vintage, indeed.

Happy Birthday to my Vintage Friends.  You know who you are and I love you.

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Tales from the Backseat

Today, we were driving in the car and I was listening to the boys talking amongst themselves.

“I bet you can’t name the boy singing, but I’ll give you a hint,” says the Big One.

“Okay, I can do it,” Little Guy proclaims.

“His name is Justin.”

“Oh! I know this.  Wait.  No, I don’t.”

“Justin Beaver.  But I think he’s dead.  He was like 112 or something.”

“I know him.  Yeah, he’s dead.  Mommy?  Isn’t Justin Beeger dead?”  Little Guy asks.

“No.  Justin Bieber isn’t dead and he’s like 19 years old.  He is also not singing right now,” I clarify.

They then start discussing who at their school likes Justin (still calling him) Beaver and other pop stars they know.  I realize that they know very little about pop music.  The Big One tells his brother how this one classmate of his likes this one singer, but he can’t remember her name.

“Mom, it’s the girl who sings, ‘California Girls’, with Snoopy.”

“Katy Perry,” I tell him.

“Yeah, her.  Little Guy, you should marry her.”

“No, I don’t want to.  Who do you want to marry, Big One?” Little Guy asks.

“I’m already married to Pokemon.”

I smile and thank the heavens that at least dating and pop music in my car are two less things to worry about today as their mom.

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Filed under Storytime, What Really Happened