My little one recently chose a book to keep from Grandma’s collection. It is a charming hardback called Sunshine Jane which was published in 1916. The new owner likes to carry it around with her and periodically read passages to anyone listening. She can’t yet read of course but we listened attentively anyway.
After a few weeks of this I asked if I could have a turn to read her book. She consented and so we started in on this sweet story from a century past.
I love this book. It is happy and thoughtful and challenging. My eldest thought bits were boring (no light sabers or iPods or dragons). To be fair it does have some rather extensive inner dialogue chapters. Apparently people thought more 100 years ago. Shocker. But even my ten year old was surprised at the ending and asked questions and we all pondered deeper ideas than whatever new song kidsbop is currently pushing.
I read frequently on various electronic devices. I read fast and move on. Not as much fun as a real book. Certainly not the same as this thick paper, velum pictures, think binding, big vocabulary, book.
CS Lewiw claims we all should read old book. “Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books…. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.”
As we worked our way slowly through Sunshine Jane I thought about what she got right and what we blunder daily in our plugged in too fast too much too early society. Jane was fighting cynicism and debt and despair and general crankiness. Her weapons were joy and smiles and hope and kindness. Seems pretty much the same as now.
My favorite quote in the book made me pause. I took a photo. I read it again. It comforted my soul.
“We hear much of the downfall of love and the downfall of religion in these days, but no one even stops to realize that religion and love cannot possibly even shake on their thrones. Their counterfeits may crumble and tumble, but real truth can never fail”.
Beautiful book. Good choice little one.
I signed up for another race – mostly because I want to eat and not lose any of the momentum from finishing the triathlon and partly because the next race in October is with very dear friends and its to run over the Astoria Bridge so it involves a weekend away with my spouse.
Finishing the triathlon is not a sentance that my jr. high self would have envisioned – proof that jr. high, while generally miserable, is thankfully not the sum total of existance. My eldest is going into fourth grade so we have two years left to pour in quality while she is still sane. And then according to my wise mother the goal in middle school is to just get them through it.
The next race is a 10K. I ran one several years ago. I came in dead last. I’d prefer not to be last again. Near the end of the crowd is okay. Last, not so much. I had a hard time this week getting into the gym during the day. The Scramble for the Kids is on Monday and so this last week was full of a myriad of details. As a result, two of my excercise attempts happened late evening after the three year old went to bed. Couple days ago the nine year old wanted to know if she could come along. I paused. Sometimes I run because I need a break. And last time she ran with me it involved more of me dragging her than actual running. But the jr. high kid in me wants my daughter’s jr. high experience to include fewer painful PE moments than mine had. Plus the fact that she wants to run with me is a a great honor. So I said sure.
She did great. We ran 2 miles in 25 minutes and were still friends when we came back home.
The almost 4th grader asked if we could run again tonight. I said
after dinner and after I read bedtime books to the little one (Make Way for Ducklings, This is Not my Hat and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore for those of you curious).
We headed out with iPod blaring so we could both hear and I was wearing a light backpack so we could bring home treats. I asked my spouse if a run still counts if it is to the store for ice cream. He said yes. Points for the husband!
We paused at the corner because the sunset was gorgeous. The nine year old had extra energy tonight because she smoked me. I had to push to keep up. We had another mid run pause to pick up pints of ice cream (Peanut Butter Cup, Heath Toffee and cookie dough…go big!). Ran home with ice cream bumping off my back
This two miles we dropped 4 1/2 minutes off our time. Seriously should add ice cream to every run. Actually I think the fact that I was chasing her down the whole time pushed us both to speed up.
She talked me through all the post run stretches and then we sat on the couch and ate bowls of ice cream and then I dove back into golf details. And now the house is quiet, the girls are asleep and I’m grateful for today – for reading and laundry and errands and nap time and quiet moments with my spouse. And for the run. I’m grateful.
Our pastor says that parenting is not for wimps. And so we run. And eat ice cream.
My eldest daughter is a reader. She comes by it quite naturally. She’s spent the last six years of her life being read to and watching us read. I’m trusting that her baby sister will join in the love of books as she gets older. If not, she’s going to have a rough time getting our attention when all three of us have our noses in books.
The first grader’s school runs a contest all year called Reading Olympics. To participate you just fill out a calendar each month with how much you read each day. I’m worried that this year the people who keep track aren’t going to believe that we filled it in properly. The six-year-old discovered Diary of Wimpy Kid at the library. She can’t put it down. I read part of it with her. We were giggling quite hysterically. I told her if she got any ideas or picked up attitude we were shelving Greg Hefley. I figure I survived reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and didn’t turn out too bad.
She received a set of several more of them for Christmas along with a couple of Baby Mouse books. After she opened her first book on Christmas morning she promptly started reading. We had to tell her to put the book down to open her next gift. She reminds me of me. Really the whole point of this blog was to share this photo. Add a pair of glasses and you have me thirty years ago.
My first grader and I have many similarities. We are both fiercely protective and amazingly proud big sisters. We both don’t shy away from a microphone. We are both learning to stand up for the under dog and love the bully into submission.
There are some ways that my daughter is nothing like me. Ways that I am very proud of her. Ways that she’s a lot like her dad.
She’s way tougher than I ever was at her age. She can do the entire monkey bar circuit at school. She beat a third grader at tether ball. I never beat a kid at tether ball. I think the third graders would still beat me. In fact….I’m pretty sure my first grader could beat me. I asked her how she accomplished this feat. She says that a friend told her the secret tip. According to the first grade girls you wind up the ball, fling it behind your back and then throw it as hard as you can.
She loves science. For Christmas we got her a Snap Circuit set (very cool…check it out here). She can now explain resisters, circuits and the path that electricity follows. I even understood what she was talking about. She and her dad have been spending at least an hour a day since Christmas building simple machines. They just completed a cool art spinning motor. I love girls who love science. I love dads that hang out with their daughters.
My baby girl and I are sitting in front of the fire while the two scientists putter in the other room. I’m blogging. Shocker I know. It’s because my sister-in-law and my sister ganged up on me today and told me it was time. They are probably right. The baby next to me is celebrating the fact that she has a new skill. She knows how to roll over. Life is about to get very interesting. Wonder who she’ll turn out to be like.