As the littles grow bigger and grow up and outgrow, it is finally time to downsize and de-clutter certain items. Children’s books are at the forefront, lately. We have piles and shelves of them.
It is a standing joke between my almost-teen and me that he never liked any children’s books. He will throw out titles laughingly, The Little House, The Biggest Bear, The Fat Cat, If I Ran the Circus. His standard line is, And that piece of crap book Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I NEVER wanted you to read THAT.
Translated, You spent hours reading me Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel AND The Little House.
I read a lot of books, but I’m not the only one. My husband, and adult children, also spent hours reading to littles.
Make Way for Ducklings, The Polite Elephant, Fireman Small, All of the ORIGINAL Curious Georges. Goodnight Moon. Little Critter anything and Richard Scarry, too. Tinker and Tanker and the Pirates. Choo Choo, the story of a little train that got away, and speaking of trains, the little boxed set of Thomas pop-up books, and Blue’s Clues lift-the-flap books. Green Eggs and Ham. Wacky Wednesday. Anything by Dr. Seuss or Theo LeSieg 😉
Big stacks of books.
And cuddle. Always cuddle. In our family culture that is bedtime story reading. You didn’t read me cuddle! or lately, May I do extra media for my cuddle?
There are all of these precious books with special memories. There are also lots of bookshelf fillers. These books are extras that hang out to be read once or twice, but they aren’t loved. They don’t hold special meaning. As I am going through them the question now becomes, Would I want to read this over and over to a grandchild one day? Does it hold a special memory with me and a little?
Sorting into save and give-away piles, I realized that I should ask Steve if he had any special memories with the books I was sorting. One by one I held up some obvious keepers. Of course! he laughed.
Then I showed him some that, to me, were obvious give-aways. Mostly. He surprised me with wanting to keep one or two. He reacted strongly to the last one. Are you crazy? Are you being serious? OF COURSE that is a keeper!
That’s when I realized that the other cuddle-reader, in fact, the one who probably shouldered MOST of the reading, if I am completely honest, the one who still spends a good chunk of the evening reading chapters of books to tweens, has memories and feelings about the books, as well.
He read all of the cuddles I did not read.
So we are going through this process together in small steps, reminiscing, laughing, wondering how we EVER survived the hours and hours and hours of reading. How we are STILL surviving them! We have been, and will continue to be, reading to children for a long time.