Every night for as long as I can remember, Gabbi and I spend some time reading together before bed. I believe that reading is something that is so essential to growing up. Learning to read, understanding stories, using your imagination and everything that comes with reading is so vital to every child’s upbringing. We read books all day long in this house, and I sincerely hope that I am instilling in my children a love of reading. However, Gabbi’s bedtime story time has become about more than just reading, since Autumn has been born, this has been “our time”. We read a story, talk about it and pray together. I love this time and look forward to it every day. It is a time that I hope we share for many, many years to come…
Tonight, however, Gabbi turned the tables on me a little bit, and asked to read the story. Now, we have been working on reading for a long time, but when it comes to reading out loud she always says she doesn’t want to. I know that she is a capable reader, and I know that she has mastered a lot of words, but getting her to just read them herself has been a battle. Gabbi doesn’t like to make mistakes, she gets embarrassed and frustrated easily and only commits to something when she is sure she can do it. When she asked to read the story, honestly, my first inclination was to say no. I didn’t want her getting angry or frustrated right before bed, and I was feeling too tired to stay up late handling a minor meltdown. It only took about thirty seconds for me to push my momentary selfishness aside though, and to say okay.
I am SO glad I did, because Gabbi read the entire book, with the exception of about five words, without any struggle. I was completely floored. But, it was more than the fact that she had just read this entire story to me, it was how proud she was of herself when she was finished. She kept saying “I can’t believe I did it, I can’t believe I read a whole book”, with a huge smile on her face. She had changed, and in that moment, she seemed older some how, as if she just grew up right while I was sitting there. She begged to keep her light on so that she could read it again and again and I happily obliged. As I write this, it is an hour past her bedtime and she is still reading out loud to her dolls. She is so happy that I don’t have the heart to ask her to stop.
Its moments like these that I am so happy that this is my job, my life, my world. After months and months of struggling with helping her build her confidence in reading, she gets it. Its like watching your baby fall down one hundred times and then, finally, they walk and become a toddler. I am so grateful to be present for the milestones, to share in their excitement and their pride. Every time that they achieve something, regardless of how small, I am inspired by their excitement and joy.
Having three small children causes my days to be busy, chaotic, stressful and sometimes just plain exhausting. I often catch myself complaining about how much I didn’t sleep, how many times I cleaned the living room, how messy the kitchen is, how many temper tantrums I had to deal with that day or anything else that went wrong. Lately I find myself overwhelmed at times with how much I am needed and how little I feel that I have to give. Sometimes I find myself crying out to the Lord, asking Him how in the world He thought that I could handle all of this. Then there are nights like tonight, where everything falls into place perfectly, every little person in my family is happy, and I get to see my child grow up right before my eyes.
Tonight, I will go to bed thankful, just thankful for the opportunity to be their mom.