No, despite the not-so-catchy and useless-via-search-engine-optimization title up there, I am not thinking so much of death right now. Rather, a smaller frontier.
I read Chestnut this very familiar, Jewish, family-oriented series a few years ago.
And BOY did she love it. She just…loved it. It was compelling but not too scary, warm, sweet, just everything that Chestnut admires and responds to. We went all the way through all the books, and then sighed in pleasure, like when you finish something really delicious, and that was the end of it.
Until this week, when Chestnut came home lugging her massive fourth-grade backpack, and collapsed onto the couch for the first part of her homework: 1/2 hour of reading a just-right book. Her just-right book? You guessed it: All of a Kind Family.
Except this time, I'm not in the loop. We see her all over the house, perched in different areas, happily reading it through all over again, but this time she's reading it on her own and I have nothing at all to do with it. Which is good. And wonderful. And all of that. But it's just so weird. Somehow, amid all the struggles and the reversed letters and the different years, she's become the person who reads aloud to other people, or the person who reads—just privately—to herself.
I don't mean this to be a lament. I am so happy for her that she's, for want of a less creepy term, one of us now. It's just that it must change the reading of the book so much. And I have no idea how, exactly, because I'm on the outside. I feel like I'm watching her little ship set sail on some crazy journey. Farewell, Chestnut! Bon voyage!
4 thoughts on “Crossing Over to the Other Side”
This is the book I have been thinking about for years! I remember reading it and loving it as a child and for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name!
I am thrilled to see this- thank you so much!
Seeing it has practically brought me to tears.
I’m going to order it right now.
so sweet! need a book recommendation, quickly PLEASE! Taking my sensitive 11 year old to see her grandmother next week. She is in advanced stages of cancer. I wish there were some sort of short book I could read to her about death and dying that won’t terrify her. I read a great picture book about the death of a beloved family pet (Up In Heaven), but a dog is not the same thing as a grandmother.
I’m experiencing the early stages of this right now too and it is such a mix of joy and sadness. I miss the snuggles and coziness of reading together. I’m hoping I can occasionally convince the little one in my life to read to me, and recreate that old magic (or something like it) that way.
That’s us, me and the girls in a nut shell.
My solution to the new situation is to find a really interesting, slightly advanced book to read out loud for them to capture the moment and they can do craft while I’m reading.