It's 8:15 pm.
Dinner is done. The dishes are somewhat done. Homework is done. The boys are in their pajamas.
I sit on the couch, Monkey and Bug on either side of me, Duck on my lap. I open a small pack of Twizzlers and hand them out. Then we open the book.
Every night we do this. Every night, I read to my children. We read from our stack of library books. We read from books we own. We've read Shel Silverstein, Laura Ingalls Wilder, A. A. Milne, Roald Dahl, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.K. Rowling. Sometimes, Monkey isn't interested in the book I'm reading to Bug, and then Hubster reads him something of his choosing. We sometimes read for 15 minutes, sometimes for an hour.
But every night, we eat Twizzlers and we read.
Growing up, my family read together every night. My mother read us Heidi, Kim, and Black Beauty. All of us blonde-headed children would sit on couch cushions and pillows, sometimes combing my mother's hair as she sat in her rocking chair and read to us. And if that sounds a little too Norman Rockwell for you, believe me, there was plenty of "shh-ing" and occasional arguing and not being able to hear the words. But my mother still did it every night. Even as a teenager, I would still come to listen.
I'm always looking for next book to read. When I was talking Hubster about rereading Harry Potter to the boys in several years, when Monkey and Duck are bigger, he mentioned that Bug might not want to do that any more.
It was another moment of parenting that I didn't see coming. A time my little boy might not want to sit curled up next to me, eating his strawberry flavored candy, and wondering how Harry is going to get out of this situation, or when will Jim ever reach the island, or what silly thing is Pooh going to say next.
I know that time is coming. When it does, I just hope that there will be a time in the future, my boys will see a pack of Twizzlers at the checkout of the grocery store and remember our evenings together. That they will see the familiar title in a bookstore and take it home to read to their children.
And even if that doesn't happen, tonight, we will still read.