One of my most precious parenting rituals is reading to my children before their bedtimes. My son is in love with the Magic Tree House series, having read (listened) to probably 90% of the collection twice over by now.
One of the many cherished routines that I share with Iris is story time. The nighttime rhythm that Sarah and I have settled into looks like this: she gets Iris ready for bed and sings songs with her; then I go into the nursery and read bedtime stories, usually 2 or 3.
There are a few of those stories that resonate deeply with me. This was an unexpected thing, to find power or pathos in a children’s book. But the good ones have it. City Dog, Country Frog is one. I think I might always remember the first time that I read it with her, it’s that good. It’s incredibly bittersweet, but triumphant too, in the way that life is. Life is filled with great, swelling sorrow as we lose our loved ones. Yet it is sweet as springtime with the friendship of those still with us.
I don’t want to say anything more; that would spoil too much of this little treasure. Go get it; read it tonight to your little one. But be prepared to cry — it still makes me choke up each time I read it.
Here’s an excellent background by the author Mo Willems himself:
Today, my kid is 1 year old. The year has flown by so fast, it’s hard to believe. Every day is a treasure that I’m lucky to experience.