Morrigan stared at me intently the whole time I was speaking to her older brother, and with a glint in her eye she blurted, “Are we going outside to blow bubbles?”
Damn it. I’ve traveled this road before, and trust me: it’s all downhill from here. People worry about their kids’ first day of school or their first love or the day they get their driving permit, but the real trouble starts when you can’t spell in front of them anymore.
I blame myself for this predicament. When Henry was small we made regular trips to the library and the bookstore. I read aloud to him every day. I had children’s books of all kinds and reading levels in my house, and if he found a book he really, really wanted, I got it for him even if I had to spend my last dollar to do it. Those were the days when I could do no wrong, before he started school and learned to read for himself.
Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. This is how it starts. Kids learn how to decipher the strings of letters they could only stare at uncomprehendingly before, and they pull the pedestal right out from under you. (There must be an inscription on it that says, “Pull here.”)
After he learned to read Henry wouldn’t be caught dead liking anything I had expressed a favorable opinion toward. Doing so would have been a cause for extreme embarrassment. This went on until one day when he accidentally took notice of a book I was reading.
“What are you reading?”
“This? Oh. It’s called Ender’s Game.”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about this young kid who’s being trained in a military space camp to fight a final all-out battle with an insectile alien race.”
“Really? I didn’t know you read that kind of stuff.”
“Oh, yeah. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. Like Wheel of Time, the Foundation series, Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land… I just got a couple of books from a series called A Song of Ice and Fire. I read lots of stuff like that.”
“I’m done with this one. You probably won’t like it, but you can look at it if you want.”
I tossed him the book and left.
Ever since that day he asks my opinion about books, and not just sci-fi and fantasy. He shares what he’s reading with me–without being prompted. We have whole conversations about books…
Now that my five year old can read she’ll be convinced she’s smarter than me, but this reading and spelling thing isn’t so bad after all. I just have to accept that I’m going to be stupid and embarrassing for another ten to fifteen years. At least.
(Yeah. It’s worth it.)
I wasn’t planning on participating in yeah write’s Weekly Writing Challenge, but then I thought, “Why not?” Now I pose the same question to you: Why not? You have nothing to lose but a little bit of time, and you’re going to be here, writing, anyway. Right?
The challenge works like this: you write a piece that is 600 words or less and submit it to the Weekly Challenge grid. The editors review it, and one of two things happens: 1. They accept your piece and it goes onto the grid for voting. (woo-hoo!) -OR- 2. You get an “love letter” informing you that your piece did not make the grid. (aw!) It’s all good, though, because you also get some advice on how to improve your piece, and we all get to be better writers.
Cool, huh? Obviously I thought so.