“Not tonight, you need to go to bed.”
“We will be nice tomorrow, if you read one more!”
“Sorry, we will read more tomorrow night.”
“I hate it when you do that. You always stop at the best part.”
“Good night. Love you,” I say with a smile.
Often the biggest joys of parenting come at the times when you are tired and don’t really feel like being a parent. We have found that one of those times is just before bedtime. We don’t read together every night, but we have tried over the years to read several books together as a family. Often the kids would be in bed and I would sit in the hall on a chair reading one story after another to them. At other times we would all sit together in the family room by the fire. While we would read, they would color, play with Legos, or just sit and listen. Sometimes it would be a short story, but usually it was a book that would take several nights or even weeks.
When the kids were little it started out as made up stories that added a chapter to a single adventure each night. We started “dragon stories” (I am sure that the idea came from Dragon Tales on TV.) and they were based on the kids that we had at the time. As another child joined the family, another dragon joined the story. The kids were the dragons and were also the heroes of all kinds of adventures in the snow, ice, or heat. It was a fun way to teach the kids honesty, courage, faith, or whatever else we felt like they needed. Some nights we had a “dragon story” and other nights it was reading from a book.
While the following list of books is nowhere close to complete, it is some of the stories we have enjoyed reading, talking about, and at times on trips, listening to over time.
Work and Glory by Gerald N. Lund (Volumes 1-9), FableHaven by Brandon Mull (Volumes 1-5), Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda (vol. 1-8) followed by Deltora Shadowlands by Emily Rodda (vol. 1-3) which is followed by Deltora Dragons by Emily Rodda (vol. 1-4), Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda (vol. 1-5), Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George, Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan (vol. 1-12), How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, The BFG by Roald Dahl, etc.
Recently the older kids reminded me of a famous family story…
“Tell us a story, Dad!”
“Okay, once upon a time there were three dragons and they were tired and went to bed. The end.”
“Goodnight, I love you.” I said with a smile. “I need to eat some Oreos…”