A few weeks ago all was chaos in our house. Camp (all two weeks of it) was ending, and a trip to the grandparents was beginning, and I was trying to commute to BlogHer'10 while seeing small people safely off, making sure they had everything they needed, and trying to make sure the cat had sufficient fluids and go to work and stuff like that. (Ah work, it always gets in the way.)
So I tried to be the sort of parent I wish I were, and wrote up a list of what they should pack, complete with numbers of shorts to pack (5) and long-sleeved shirts (2). And, of course, books.
These are the times when I wish there was a kid's kindle, one that could store up a whole bunch of titles, but wouldn't break if you sat on it or stood on it or spilled ice cream on it.
This being reality, what we had instead were those plastic woven shopping bags that hurt your hand if you put too much stuff in them. And so everyone got to work busily stuffing as much in them as possible. And it was illuminating what they took.
Chestnut has become the avid reader she always meant to be. It's as if her skills have caught up with her desire, and it somehow melted all the resistance and frustration right away. She can now sit for hours on the couch with some long chapter book, and so, I figured, that is what she would take.
I was wrong.
She spent most of her time at the bottom shelf of her bookshelf, that is the tallest shelf—the ones where the picture books reside. And when (like an idiot) I said, "Oh, you're bringing Knitting Nell?" just like some bad mother in a movie would say, "Oh, you're wearing that?" she just cheerfully said, "Yeah sure," with a look at me to check that I wasn't losing my mind. "Um, Mom, it's a great book, remember?"
It's a really nice book, all about a shy person who finds what she likes to do and then does it, is true to herself, and helps other people—something not so many kid's books talk about in a way that's comfortable to read. But the book is a lot like Nell herself: unassuming, quiet, and really really nice.
And I thought, Oh, right. I do remember. I feel quite luck, actually, to have people around to remind me of things like that.