Saturday, January 9, 2010


My children are required to read at least 20 to 30 minutes each night for ‘homework.’ To encourage this, while also attempting to encourage a period of non-chaos in the house, we have begun a “Family Reading Time.” After supper, all four of us retire to the living room to read for 30 minutes. The kids are both strongly encouraged to read chapter books from school, but there’s no real restriction on the material. I’ve started digging into some resources from the library on alternative therapies for children with ADHD and other learning/emotional issues.

Our living room contains a big comfy chair with ottoman, a large hide-a-bed couch, and a small loveseat. Ample space for four people to kick back with a book. Lighting is a bit problematic as there are only two lamps, but their strategic placement provides at least three areas where a person can read without eye strain and as long as the dining room light is on, there’s a decent place for everyone.

This evening, Eiledon captured the big blue chair and Gavin was ensconced on the corner of the big couch by the light by the time I selected my reading material. Dan was still puttering around in the other room so I plopped down on the loveseat and pulled the Scooby Doo afghan down around my legs.

“I want that, too,” said Gavin. He relocated to the other side of the loveseat and pulled some of the blanket onto himself. Within seconds of being settled, Brubeck noticed that I was motionless and—bonus! I had a fleece throw. He planted himself between me and Gavin with his chin on my leg and heaved a contented sigh.

“Hey,” Eiledon called from across the room. “I want Brubeck over here.”

“Go to Eiledon,” I encouraged the dog. “She’s warm, too.”

“Actually,” said Eiledon, “I’m kind of cold.” She got up and walked over to us. I was certain she was going to lean over and pluck the dog from my lap and then return to her own seat to cuddle and read. I was a little surprised when she dropped the dog onto the floor and squished in between me and Gavin with her legs over mine.

“I thought you were going to take the dog back to the blue chair.”

“Nope,” Eiledon said matter-of-factly. “Come on, Brewski,” she called. The dog happily reinserted himself into the growing pile. I surveyed the living room.

“You know,” I said to Dan as he settled into the now vacant blue chair, “this living room has plenty of space for everyone and yet here I sit smashed under three bodies.”

“Yep,” said Dan. He was no help.

That was a piece of Heaven. For just a little while, there was no drama, there were no disagreements, no evidence of the present difficulties of parenting and growing up that we’re all struggling with. Even the dog seemed harmoniously integrated into the quiet whole. It was a beautiful moment I hope I can remember the next time the TV is blaring and Eiledon and Gavin are too busy fighting over the legos to even be watching to stupid thing while the dog, after peeing on the Scooby Doo afghan is chewing on my cell phone in the corner. I’ll take it while I can get it.


  1. Your evening sounds amazingly blissful; a small slice of Heaven, indeed. You are a lucky, lucky woman.


  2. He's whizzing on the carpet Dad...

  3. Oh, how funny! I didn't see this comment before I wrote my blog on the 11th (what, nine hours later?) and mentioned The Family Dog! I'm assuming this "Anonymous" is Dan--we really do use the same brain!