"A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them." Horace Mann.
September is National Literary Month. We should celebrate.
One of my favorite memories of my, now five year old son, came a few years back. Matthew was almost three years old and each night we would convene in the "reading room" to share a book before bed. I got into the habit of rereading the same book to Matthew for weeks on end, believing if he was familiar with the story and could anticipate what was to come, his attention span would be longer. For us it worked.
While in the middle of reading, Jack and the Beanstalk one night, Matthew kept lifting his little leg and swinging on top of the book. Finally - a little annoyed - I asked Matthew what he was doing. Without skipping a beat he told me he was trying to climb into the story!
To be so enthralled with a book, you want to crawl inside? Music to my ears. Climb away.
A few days later, on a Saturday, Matthew was digging in our front yard. When I asked what he was doing, he told me he was planting his own magical beans (popcorn kernels), so he could grow his own beanstalk.
Grow your own beanstalk?!?!?
It was 4:00 p.m.
Around that time Richard came home from the grocery store. Passing him in the driveway, I told him I would be right back; that I had an errand to run.
Kids believe in magic for such a short amount of time, that this was no time to be practical.
So, at 9:00 p.m. after we knew Matthew was snug as a bug,
Richard and I set out to "grow" Matthew's beanstalk. It couldn't wait. He planted the seeds earlier that day, and the story goes that Jack's beanstalk grew overnight. While it is true Matthew might not even have remembered planting the beans, if there was ever to be a beanstalk, it had to be the following morning.
Four long rolls of brown packaging paper from Target. Two shades of green spray paint. Large sheets of green and yellow foam. And, one hot glue gun.
Somewhere around 2:00 a.m., Richard and I snuck into Matthew's room, wrapping the beanstalk around bed posts, through shelves, under his closet, and with enough stalk left over to drop it 15 feet to the ground outside his bedroom window.
It was dead of the summer, but we felt like Santa and Mrs. Claus.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter. He sprang from his bed to see what was the matter. You know the rest of the story....
Matthew was suitably shocked, Richard and I were proud of ourselves for having created a magical moment, and Matthew walked away with a memory that, two years later, he still occasionally mentions. Some day he'll realize it wasn't a real beanstalk and he'll naturally have to conclude it was a sham - that his old-fogy parents engineered the whole darn thing.
Is that so bad?
Signing off until tomorrow...