Bedtime joy

2010 February 4
by Evan Lenz

My mom got me and my siblings the same book for Christmas, a novel called The Christmas List. She thought it was a nice story and an easy read, so she wanted to share it with us. I thought maybe Sammy (9) would like me to read it with (i.e. to) him. He showed some interest, and we got started on it. After we were a few chapters in, my daughter Morgan (6) overheard us. Sammy soon lost interest, but Morgan wanted to keep listening. The last few nights that I’ve put Morgan to bed, we’ve been reading the book together. Each time I ask her if I should go on to the next chapter, she says, “Yes, don’t stop.” I usually pull the plug when I see she’s fallen asleep.

The Christmas ListThe book is not exactly a children’s book. It’s a modern-day “Scrooge” story, and it deals with some heavy themes, like death, divorce, and cancer. But it’s been a really neat way for me to connect with my daughter. She is very engaged by the storytelling, as made evident by her astute questions. She’s learning about the adult world, and we’re getting a chance to talk about it. If I ever go on too long in answering a particular question, like “What’s a lawyer?”, she’ll tell me I’ve said enough, she wasn’t really that interested, and please keep on reading.

You never know what kinds of connections you might make with your kids or what will strike their fancy. This one caught me by surprise. I’m so impressed by Morgan’s attentiveness that it makes me want to go out and buy a bunch more of this guy’s novels to see how long I can sustain these special moments of connection.

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