As I drove home yesterday I read a sign at a bus stop that read “you read words, I hear magic”. I’m not even exactly sure what it was for, but from those few words and the picture I saw, I was transported a few hours back in time and what I had just witnessed my son do.
I pick him up from school almost on a daily basis and between class and his other extra curricular activities there is always some time to kill. I fill it with time at the park or a meal depending on how hungry he is. Yesterday I needed to go to the library myself and realized he’s been to many a book store but never a library. How could I have neglected this privilege? His eyes lit up as I explained where we would go and that he could pick any book he wanted. He was fascinated as I filled out the application for the his very own library card. When the librarian had finished inputting all the information and ask him to “sign” his card, he was absolutely beside himself and I swear he stood a little taller. We did an about face and headed towards the aisles and aisles of books and I had to hold his hand so he wouldn’t run into the library. He kept pointing at things he saw and pointed out that there were a couple magazines and books that I happen to own. (I like book stores). We made our way to the back where the children books are and it looks very much like his classroom. He quickly picked a couple of books and came to sit next to me. He’d been reading to me for a few minutes when he was approached by a volunteer about a reading group that was about to start. Now this is where the magic happened. I repeat that “i hear magic”. I don’t know if anyone else at all would agree but I could not have been any prouder. I made sure to continue to look busy so that his search for approval was not a distraction. I’ve noticed he does this during his Karate class. So with him fully engaged I watched on. The kids took turns reading a book they had chosen, I felt nervous for him. He reads to me but I notice the cadence in which he reads is broken, although like I already mentioned I think it’s his pausing for me after every word as if to ask “is that right, daddy?” So here it was his turn. I heard him read the cover and I couldn’t believe it. I mean I could believe it but it was an incredible feeling. You see I’ve had a love affair with books since I have memories and think some of my earliest memories are tied to things I read whether they are signs or dates. So the realization that my son is so captivated by the written word is a gift for me. That ranks right up there with him being born or those first steps I saw him take. This morning on the way to school I asked him about the book he read. I saw that same look on his face and that sparkle in his eye.
I realize he is just in Kindergarten but it feels like just yesterday I was holding the bottle to his mouth. So in a blink of an eye, he’ll be in high school filling his locker up with the books he read that semester (I would challenge myself to beat the previous semesters total)or, we’ll be filling out his college applications. Yet I’ll never forget the first time I really heard my boy read.