Sunday, May 26, 2013

through the pages

These past few days have been an avalanche of reminders that my children are growing up. Maybe it is something to do with the spring season, with all the growth happening around us making me super-attuned to it happening right next to me. Whatever the reason, it always hits me the hardest this time of year.

One of the big transitions we are working on is Secondo's entry into high school. He has almost always shared a room with someone, sometimes by choice, and sometimes not. Right now, he technically has his own room, but his little brother sleeps in the bottom bunk. They are both happy with this arrangement, for the most part.

The demands of his new high school will require him to have a dedicated study space. The obvious place is Terzo's room, which he only uses for clothes storage and a play area. It's the perfect reason to start weeding out the stuff meant for younger children, especially the three bookshelves chock-full of board books through picture books and elementary chapter books, to get ready for high school textbooks and binders.

I did not anticipate how difficult the parting would be.

Some of these books have been with us since Primo was born almost eighteen years ago. I have vivid memories of reading them aloud, over and over and over again. Their physical presence is a reminder of that sweet innocent baby/toddler weight in my arms, resting trustingly against my chest, as I rocked and read. The words of the books surrounded us so completely, my telling and their listening such a wonderful way for each of us to get exactly what we needed from the other. Need the perfect baby gift? Give The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. It was one of the most valuable gifts I received, for what it taught me about the power of reading to your children.

I started making piles of the ones that I couldn't bear to part with, because so much love is bound up in those worn and tattered covers that it seems disloyal to give them away. Although some overlap existed, each child had their own particular favorites that were chosen time and time again. Those were put aside to be stored in their "baby boxes", large rubbermaid containers with particular momentos from birth on up.

One such book has not been on the bookshelf, but instead on my desk, for several years now. This book was the particular favorite of my eldest, who brought it to me on a daily basis. I have used this book almost as frequently in the last few years to remind me of his younger self as we faced down the rocky challenges of the teenage years. Viewing him through the lens of my memories of that book made the various situations that much more bearable. I haven't needed it for a while now, so I brought it upstairs and added it to the piles of books bound for the boxes. Another passage, though perhaps it's time for me to choose one of Secondo's to go on my desk.


  1. I still have piles of my boys' books here that we are now reading to our grandson. The memories are fantastic! Glad you are able to hang on to the most precious ones.

  2. Oh dear...brings a tear to my eye. I'm still putting "memories" in our boys' "life boxes" and they're in their 30's!