12 January 2007

photobooth friday

(ava, city museum, december 31, 2005)

"courage... courrr-aaage... what does that mean?"

"um, it's kind of like bravery, what it means to be brave. do you know what that means?"

"sort of."

"okay, well... you would be considered brave if you did something that needed to be done, even if you were really REALLY scared to do it. get it?"

"kind of... not really."

"when was the last time you were scared?"

"today in school, when I had to go up to the teacher's desk to get a kleenex to blow my nose."

"you know what? when I was in 4th and 5th grade, I HATED walking up to the front of the class room to sharpen my pencil... I hated it so much that I'd wait until my pencil was worn down to the nub, until I couldn't write with it anymore. then I would take a deep breath and make the long walk to the pencil sharpener."

"but why were you so scared?"

"because I didn't like the idea of everyone looking at me. it made me nervous."


(long pause)

(and then her face lights up)

"hey! that sounds just like me! that's just like what I felt like too!"

"I KNOW! we're so totally the same. so did you get the kleenex anyway, even though you were scared?"

"yup. I didn't want to but I HAD to."

"see, that took courage. you were afraid to do something but you knew you had to do it and you did it. you were brave! understand now?"

(she nods)

"courage. I like that word."

"yeah. it's a good word".

and then we finished the chapter of the book we were reading (matilda), said our prayers and exchanged hugs and kisses. nightlights were turned on and sheets and blankets were adjusted to accomodate hot little feet.

night after night of this same sort of thing and I have grown to love it exponentially. not just the nightly bedtime rituals, but more so the reading. to have that short-lived time with her-- re-reading the books that I grew up loving, explaining what certain words and ideas mean (which almost always leads to a good story or two), witnessing the light of recognition in her eyes. surely she will be reading chapter books on her own soon. she reads picture books just fine now but I know it won't be long before I find her hunched over a book with a flashlight, way past bedtime. at least, that's what I'm hoping. that's where my love of books was born-- impossible stacks checked out from the library each week and then me under the blankets, unable to sleep for all the reading. I could not stop reading. in this way, worlds cracked wide open for me.

I am wishing that for ava. but I am also wishing that this time I spend reading to her never ever ends.

more photobooth friday reads:

the whole self
shameless self promoters


  1. Now, THAT is just the sweetest photobooth photo I've ever seen. And the sweetest story to match. Have a great weekend.

  2. goodness. that is the best story/photo ever! i'm inspired to be more courageous today. xo, mati

  3. i have such fond memories of my grandmother reading to me when i was a child, and i was so that girl with the torch and her book under the covers :-) Ava is lucky to have such an inspiring mama ~ and i *love* this photo! Sx

  4. ok, now i have to go get myself a tissue because this made me all teary. having girls so close to not being little at all anymore, these tender moments are so much more delicate and precious really, because there's that glimmer of something more just in the horizon.
    i love this square oh so much!

  5. you are making me cry.

    now i want a daughter.... sigh....

  6. they are so precious. i love these moments.

  7. That was beautiful Andrea!

  8. best story ever andrea! how amazing it must be to teach your child words, thier meanings and about life. my life was all about reading as a kid too! my mom would take us to library all the time, and even had us listen to those red disney tapes at night from the storybooks we had *sigh* passing on the love of reading, what could be better? :)

  9. See, now, I didn't think it was possible for your posts to get ANY better and then you go and create this one.

    You are a rare and beautiful talent my friend.

  10. sweetest ever. * i love it.

  11. i love that you can really see ava's resemblance to ezra in that photo.

    also, wonderful story. Matilda remains, to this day, my favorite book of all time.

  12. she looks SOOOOOOO much like you at that age! what a sweetheart! oh, what memories you have given me! I just love her!

  13. oh. my. god.

    this post! this post! i love this post.

    i love that little photoboothie face. and your conversation with your girl. i'm always scribbling down conversations like these that i have with my girl, because they keep me sane and alive.

  14. yay for Ava and her courage!

  15. It doesn't have to end when she starts chapter books on her own! My dad read aloud to me and my brother every night until I was halfway through high school. It was wonderful.