Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Storyteller

My wife is a wonderful teacher, a natural nurturer, and a most excellent storyteller. Of course I’ve always known that my son is lucky to have her for a mom but every now and again I see or catch her doing something that brings it all back home.

We were hanging out at the local kid’s museum, blowing off some steam on a rainy Sunday afternoon in the barn house area. Simon was bouncing off the walls, hopping off the tractor and milking the cows and just kind of all over the place when he stumbled upon some books near the window ledge.

He spotted one of his all-time faves, Duck on a Bike and wanted Mom to read it. (Let me say here that I love how my kid stops mid-sprint at the sight of a familiar book, like he’s running into good friend unexpectedly. It's warms my inner-nerd). 

Mom’s especially good at reading Duck because she does all the character’s voices and even remembers what voice to do for each character, something I can never manage, it’s just a mess when I read characters, but anyway…

So they took a seat in the back and settle in. Mom read as a gale force of kids climbed and yelled and ran wild around them. Not far into the book, a little girl took notice. She was maybe a year or two older than Simon, lingering around and inching up closer. She had a book in her hands and was craning her head to listen to my wife’s well-crafted performance of Duck on a Bike. 

After a while, Simon got distracted and hopped off my wife's lap. There were cows to tend to, corn to shuck, and besides, he'd heard this story a million times anyway. But the girl remained, and that first-grade school teacher part of my wife couldn't just stop reading, not with a little girl standing on her tippy toes, looking on like, well, I suppose you may as well go on and finish. 

So the teacher plunged ahead with the rest of the story, in those voices, for this eager little girl trying not to look interested. And while Simon did his thing on the tractor I kept an eye on the two of them, the girl now scooted up beside my wife and taking in the pages and voices of Duck and all his friends in the book. At my wife, in the middle of all this, over there performing, doing her best cow impression and seemingly unaware she was completely making this little wide-eyed girl’s day.

At the end of the story, the girl simply presented the book she was holding, and again my wife obliged. By now the little girl’s grandmother had arrived on the scene, winded and thankful after a quick search for her missing granddaughter.

My wife finished the girl’s book. I'm not even sure what book it was, but it was great. The girl’s grandma thanked her and they both went about their day. But I shook my head, realizing that Simon got those wonderful readings—the kind that makes a little girl stand in line to hear—every single day of his life.

Lucky kid.

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