what happened last night

Last night was one of the best nights of my life.

Every night I read a book or two to my son, who is six, just before he goes to bed. Last night we read McElligot’s Pool by Dr. Seuss. We’ve read it before — he loves all the funny fishes. After we finished, he climbed up into his loft and I tucked him in and turned out the light and said “good night, sweet dreams” as I always do. That’s when it happened.

As I was about to leave, out of the goodnight-moon quiet of his just-darkened room, I heard him say, “Mom… would it be okay if I read McElligot’s Pool one more time?”

“You mean you want to hear it again?” I asked.

“No, I want to read it myself. Is that okay? I’ll tuck myself in again after.”

Is that okay? Is that OKAY? Of course it’s okay! My boy wants to READ! He wants to actually READ the WORDS in a BOOK before he goes to bed. Is that okay? That’s totally awesome. That’s one of those things that they don’t tell you about. Sure, there are nighttime feedings for 15 months and you don’t sleep through the night forever. There are epic battles over eating food, wearing clothes, and using the toilet. There are terrifying moments when he falls down and cuts or breaks or bumps some part of his body and you can’t fix it with a band-aid.

But last night I left the light on, and my son read a book to himself before bed.

I had no idea it would feel that good.

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3 Responses to what happened last night

  1. Andy Rush says:

    Thanks for sharing that story.

  2. Gardner says:

    My oh my. What a flood of memories comes back when I read this story. Watching this kind of cognitive independence happen, and knowing how many strange, delightful, troubling, and ennobling experiences will follow in a lifetime of reading, is one of the great joys of parenting.

    This bookworm in Fredericksburg says, “Huzzah!”

  3. Rachel:

    I had a similar (though perhaps less perhaps less dramatic) moment last night. I have three boys: 6, 8 and 13. We’ve always encouraged them to read, since BC my wife and I used to read as a hobby. We manage a lot less of it now. Anyway, all three of the boys read, but the middle one, Mark, doesn’t seem to enjoy it. (Actually, that reminds me of my younger brother.) Last night I was snatching 10 minutes of book time, while they were getting ready for bed. Mark finished first and he climbed into bed with me carrying a book (one of the Magic Treehouse series–if you don’t know it yet, you will.) We have a bunch of those books around and he’s never shown much interest. Before last night. Anyway, without saying anything, he just read with me for 15 minutes or so before Mom broke it up and shuffled us off to bed.

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