When Captain Alpha was about four, he fell in love with a Sesame Street book from my childhood. There had been well-loved books before, but this one? It was special.
He wanted to read it every.single.night.
“How about this one?” David and I would ask as we chose the evening reads.
He would always agree to our choice, but still wanted the “number 13″ book as well.
It was long. Not your usual 20 page children’s book, this one had cartoons and longer stories and little games with photos all tucked within its colourful hard cover.
We had a little routine. David and I would read the Bert and Ernie cartoons – I was Bert, he was Ernie. (David makes great character voices. Me? Not so much.)
We would read together.
No skipping pages. He would know.
We suggested and bargained and “aren’t you getting tired of that book?”
No, he’d say. He wasn’t tired of it, he loved that book.
He laughed every single time we read it – especially when we got to the page with Sherlock Hemlock. David did a great Sherlock Hemlock.
Some nights I felt like we would never, ever be done reading the “number 13 book.” And I began to think that if I never saw it again, it would be too soon.
As often happens, I don’t remember the last time we read it. Time went on, and another interest caught his attention and the number 13 book was set on the shelf. And there it had stayed, largely untouched and forgotten.
Until the other day.
I heard the boys playing downstairs in the playroom. The words started to drift up to me
“…I loved it…”
“…Daddy made the best voices…”
“…It’s Sherlock Hemlock!”
And I knew Alpha had found the book.
He brought it upstairs to show me, to ask me if I remembered.
And I admit, I smiled when I saw that book again.
Despite nights and nights of making Bert voices and yawning and ”Are you sure you don’t want to read this book? There’s a tractor on it;” despite my despair that Alpha may never choose another book, and my never wanting to lay eyes on that book ever again – it was like seeing an old friend.
And you know what? In that moment, seeing him remember and smile and hearing him talk about that memory and exclaim, “It’s Sherlock Hemlock!” in the exact intonation that David had used all those years ago, I realized:
It was all worth it.
So, Moms and Dads, if you are stuck in the magical realm of SameStoryEveryNight and think you are going to go out of your mind. I get it. I have been there.
You think it is never going to end.
And you wonder if it makes a difference.
They do remember those moments with their first book love. They loved it then; they will love remembering it years from now.
They may also love sharing it – complete with character voices – with their younger brother.
And it is a beautiful thing.
Do you remember your first book love? Are you stuck in SameStoryEveryNight right now?