Pausing the page

My youngest looks forward to Library every Monday afternoon. She brings home two books, and only two, because there is a librarian-imposed limit. I don’t understand this, as there seems to be nothing congruous about books and limits, so we supplement with our own. She loves to hear me read although she’s perfectly capable of it herself, and so we alternate paragraphs or pages. We have one rule. I am never allowed to read words written in all CAPITAL LETTERS. Capital letters are only meant for six-year olds looking for a parent-approved reason to shout.

When we stop in the middle of a book, she carefully pulls down the top of the page and slides her finger across to make a dog-eared crease. She calls it pausing the page. This is equal parts adorable and parenting fail. I need to rethink how much television this child is watching. The page folding makes me a little uncomfortable. I am old school. I like to protect the words and respect the page. I look for the nearest slip of paper, gum wrapper, or bobby pin to mark my place.
Mrs. McQ was my librarian in middle school. I remember her because she had a great figure and taught aerobics classes to students after school. I don’t know if she dog-eared or paper slipped her pages, but I remember her voice and that she always left off the reading mid-sentence because she lost herself in the story and forgot to check the clock. This I can relate to, the aerobics, not so much.
I wonder at times if my girl will find herself getting lost in the story, or if the TV, computer, or latest video game will keep her from learning how to focus long enough to be swept away. Story is so important to discovering who we are and where we fit in this world. Of course, I’ve always believed I was meant to be Jo March in Little Women, so there’s always the risk of forgetting who you are too.
The way I see it, cultivating a love of story, a love for the art of seeing life through twenty-six little letters, is a part of my job description. And apart from the ‘show them how to live like Jesus thing’, it’s the best part. Show them a great story, and then help them live one. I might not be Mrs. McQ, but I can pause a page with the best of them.