As it’s a mere three months until Christmas, (which, of course, equates in the world of retail to about three weeks. They’ve got a bizarre dog-to-human years ratio-thing happening), my mailbox is starting to become inhabited by more catalogues than the usual visitors. Just a few more each week, but I’m noticing it. The mailmen must hate this time of the year. But then again, maybe their shopping is made easier…think of ALL the catalogues they must see. Everyone’s on the whole route. Can you imagine the stuff they must see?
I received a catalogue recently and it’s one that cracks me up whenever it appears. It has all types of things in it that girlfriends would give to their girlfriends. Jewelry, cute little things with sayings on them about men, buying shoes, being annoyed by men, buying more shoes, loving men. Then the scattering of items mentioning bad hair days, weight gain, motherhood and in-laws. The usual suspects and conversation fodder for any girls’ night out.
One item that struck me was covered with “good words” and I love some good words. It’s a plaque done with a casual-style writing, interspersed with little, loopy illustrations…something that I’d probably draw if I had the time. It’s friendly looking and screams (gently) for you to read it. This is what is says:
To Love a Child…
Give lots of hugs and kisses
Spend time with them
If they’re unlovable, love them
Encourage them to be themselves
Read Books out loud with JOY
Be Silly Together
Get outside and play
Play dress up
Let them pick out their own clothes
Laugh a lot
Have family movie nights
Encourage kindness and generosity
Remember the little things are the big things
Tell them how truly special they are.
I can honestly say that in our household we do a pretty good job managing the suggestions on this fabulous list. Number 10 brings back fond memories of the pale yellow sundress that my younger daughter received one year for Easter from one of her grandmas…and she didn’t take it off for (virtually) six months. She wore it on early spring days with long shirts when it was still too cool to be in a sundress, she wore it in the heat of the summer, she wore it well into fall when pale yellow was looking out-of-season. She loved this dress, mismatched it with everything, mixed seasonal clothes with it and had an absolute ball wearing it. I have a picture of her right this very minute on the inside of one of our kitchen cabinet doors. Each day I open that door to reach for a glass and see that adorable face wearing that over-worn but well-loved dress.
Number 11 we have down in spades. We laugh a LOT in our household. It’s a wonderful thing. I think an errant..er….um…TOOT…had all of us rolling just yesterday.
When I saw this list, though, the one that jumped out of me was Number 6. There could have been electric, neon lights around those letters the way it sang out to me. Maybe the universe wants me to take better notice of that one.
We are big readers in our house and a good story is recognized and exalted. We all read every night before bed and now my younger daughter is starting to do much more of the reading. We take turns with the pages. I read one, she reads one and so on. There are nights, though, when mustering the energy to read that one last story to her seems to take every bit of energy that I have. “Well, you know…the nine million errands, the four activities and your tantrum has my reserves running a little low at this time of day….”. I love a good book and I do enjoy reading to my girls (older one is reading to herself these days…sniff….) but sometimes, oh my lord, I just don’t have the energy. But I do it and maybe the reading isn’t the most theatrical and fabulous that I’ve ever put forth, but we read.
Well, I read this list in the catalogue and ever since, that line has stuck with me like glue. What a great thing…give that story YOUR ALL. Read Books Out Loud with JOY. It’s like the gods above had witnessed every lack-luster (but still get-the-job-done) book session I had every produced and were now saying to me…”C’mon…remember the one being read TO…make it special. Make it good. She’ll remember this.”
Funny how everyone interprets things in their own way. Maybe somewhere, somehow I knew that some of my night’s of reading weren’t the most glorious for my child. We read, but maybe I seemed tired here and there. That request for one last chapter can almost kill a girl, you know. Cut me a little slack…puh-lease…I try!
The days goes quickly…soon, she’ll be reading entirely on her own and “little kid” books like A Balloon for Isabelle, with it’s adorable porcupines will be a sweet memory. We laugh out loud together at that book every single time we read it. Those are the good moments.
The great moments.
Bring the JOY and serve it up with a cherry on top.