A little happy, a little sad

Watching our children read fills me with joy – but also a little sadness.

When it comes to our kids, I am thankful for many things. They are all in good health. They all enjoy school. And, on the whole, they are pretty well-behaved.

Don’t get me wrong, they have their bad moments too. Of course they do. Our offspring bicker, shout and are generally just as much a pain in the backside as anyone else’s kids. Isaac is hurtling towards archetypal teenager behaviour. Toby whinges. Kara flounces around scolding everyone like she is the boss of the house. (In fairness, she is and we all know it.)

In other words, they’re children. And as much as we sometimes berate them for the things they do, it’s not realistic to expect them to be paragons of virtue 24/7. Especially in a household with two working parents. Parental attention is a scarce resource and sibling rivalry is inevitable.

Generally speaking, each of our kids is better when they secure a little one-to-one time with either parent. It doesn’t happen often but our weekend activities do create opportunities for us to divide and conquer. We do lots of stuff as a family but we also build pockets of time when one of us takes two kids while the other has one to themselves. As a strategy, this has always worked well for us.

So, anyway, this morning I had an hour to myself with Kara. One of the other things I am thankful for with our kids is their love of reading. So as the two of us snuggled in to our favourite table at Costa, Kara read a book to me. I love how focussed and happy she is when she reads, and how fluently she does so.

It’s a double-edged sword, though. At bedtime, the boys now mostly read by themselves and Kara generally reads rather than being read to. The days of reading stories to them every night before bed have now passed.

So watching Kara read like this makes me happy. But it makes me sad too.


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