Tuesday, June 14, 2011

80 Months

Lucas says, "I love to read, Daddy."

These are beautiful words to my ears. A joyous chorus rises up and little drops float out of my tear ducts. All the hard work of bedtime reading, all the time spent cuddled up on the couch as he stared over our shoulders, all the patience keeping the damn teevee off, all the training regarding the important things in life...some of it is actually paying off!

It's so true, though. Whenever Lucas sits down for a moment to do some inane everyday thing that doesn't require brainpower, he'll grab a book and multi-task. When we hop in the car to run errands, he'll dutifully ask if he can bring Calvin & Hobbes along for the ride. Whenever we venture down to the local library, he'll bring me book after book that he wants to check out. He is becoming a voracious reader.

We had a sit-down with his teacher and one of the few aspects of his education where Lucas is a little bit lacking is in reading and comprehension, along with his writing skills. It's definitely something that Christina and I were already aware of but it's not something that concerned us too much. Mostly because he really does enjoy reading as much as he is capable. So it was a bit of a relief when his teacher added that she also was not very concerned about his lagging ability regarding this subject. The reason being that children Lucas's age, while really advancing with their reading skills dramatically, aren't at that stage where they truly comprehend the complexity of storytelling just yet. She said that Lucas is going to find out how magical books can become when he really starts to read about stories that grab him. You see, Lucas isn't going to have a problem once he reaches the next stage of his reading evolution because he already has a wonderful imagination.

His imagination is one of the parts of Lucas that has always drawn such appreciation from me. It's something that I truly understand and when I see it in him, I am reminded of amazing tales that captured my youthful energy. I could spend entire days out in the wild canyons of Chula Vista and never think once about the sterile world inhabited by parents and guardians. It's also something that I am eternally grateful for discovering, for embracing and learning about. I find myself truly appreciating the fact that I wasn't allowed to watch teevee very often or that the personal computer wasn't something that was constantly present occupying my time. I recall vividly the world of video games, which were extremely popular at the time, and there were definitely a few years when my only dream was to visit the arcade every day to play Galaga or skip over to a friend's house to play Mission Control on his Atari or to even possibly get one of my own. But my parents weren't interested in video consoles or cable box television. It just wasn't important to them and that ever-present ethos has carried over into the way I parent today.

I was a kid who always had my nose stuck in a book. I was ridiculed and cursed at and scorned but none of it phased me. I wasn't an avid socializer and only had a couple of close friends who didn't ask too much of me. So it was easy for me to go down into the world of a book and feel like I might somehow find a more glamorous existence, that I might somehow bring that feeling out of my very soul. That's why I eventually wanted to become an author. The dream of being able to convey stories and ideas in a magical way really tapped into that euphoric portion of my brain and provided rich nourishment for my soul.

I know that Lucas also has a very rich perspective on life. I can see it in his smile and hear its enthusiasm when he tells me about some idea that he came up with. It's so rewarding to realize that some of the nurturing is coming to fruition, to watch it actually grow as he grows. It's a nuanced and weird experience for a parent to witness the evolution of their child and there are many times when the process can turn a certain direction that you never expected or couldn't even imagine. But mostly it's wonderful, much in the same way that a good story develops and grabs your attention. Most the time you recognize many aspects of their development that remind you of pleasant memories that you may have forgotten or warm feelings that lay hidden in your subconscious or even something so completely expected that you exult with happiness when it happens.

That's how I felt when Lucas told me that he loves to read. We always knew he would. He's surrounded by so many books our house probably feels like a library to him. Both his parents continuously carry books around. We've even talked about starting a reading hour every evening if we can manage to pull ourselves away from these damn ever-present computers that occupy so much of our time. So it was no shock to hear him say these words, yet it still makes my heart soar to watch my little reader, my little author dance about in the scholastic playground.

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