52 Weeks of Brotherhood: Week 28
Ignore the quality of this photo. The feel of my iPhone version of this photo as compared to what I captured with the DSLR after I ran in to grab it to get a “better” picture, far surpassed the better camera. This is a lesson in capturing what you see when you see it, no matter the means.
I always thought reading fell under the “things you do alone” category — minus reading class in school and when we read to the kids 87 times during the day or before bed at night. To me, reading gives me that alone time, that escape into another time and place. My ears shut off and I drift away into the happy space.
Reading doesn’t seem to be a solitary type of thing to my boys.
I think part of that stems from the fact that LittleBrother learned to read while BigBrother learned to read. We didn’t know it at the time, of course. We worked with BigBrother night and day. We followed all of the tips and advice. We did actual lessons. We used flash cards. We practiced and practiced and practiced. As LittleBrother lives here and as he’s always thisclose to me, he normally fell in ear shot of all reading lessons.
BigBrother learned to read quite well.
And so did LittleBrother.
One day, driving down the road, he read a sign about a school bus. Normally, we see lots of “School Bus Stop Ahead” signs. This one didn’t say that though. At first he said aloud, “School bus stop ahead!” We passed the sign quickly, and I didn’t take the time to correct him. I mean, after all, it wasn’t as if I needed to correct him because he wasn’t reading. Right? A few seconds later he piped up, “Well, actually, that sign said ‘School Bus Turn Around Ahead.'” I raised an eyebrow at him in the rearview mirror. He smiled.
I don’t like to brag on the fact that my not-quite-a-Kindergartener reads — and reads well — already. After preschool parent-teacher conferences, I ran into another mom at the pharmacy. She asked how LittleBrother did, and I gave the basic, “Oh, you know,” answer to avoid any real conversation. She continued that her daughter still needed to work on her letters. I all but cupped my hand over my kid’s mouth before he could yell, “I can read!” Yes, well. I can’t take any credit for it.
But his brother can.
With the shade in our yard somewhat and suddenly lacking, they quickly found that they could pull their chairs under the one side of our not-so-large dogwood tree. To read, of course. They spent so many hours reading under the branches of our pear, so my heart all but leapt out of my chest to see them sitting together underneath the branches of another tree. Reading.
For awhile, they sat in silence, the only noise coming from birds chirping and the summer buzz of many bugs in nearby fields. Then a giggle escaped one boy. The other leaned over, his gaze following the grubby pointer finger of his brother to find out what Calvin said to Hobbes this time. More laughter. And then, “But wait! Listen to this one.” And then, back and forth, they read the adventures of a little boy and his stuffed best friend. I sat, reading my own book just a few feet away on the front porch, feeling the deep feelings of a mother in love with her sons.
Despite being able to read by himself — he just finished his first chapter book last month — sometimes LittleBrother will pick a book off the shelf that he knows his brother loves. He’ll look down at the book in his hands, smile, and walk up to his brother. From beneath long eyelashes, he will look up at his brother with respect and wonder and say, “Will you read this to me?” They will sit, together — under a tree, on the couch, or just plop right down on the carpet in front of the shared family bookshelf in the living room — and read. Brothers, loving books together.