As my kids have grown beyond my reach, no longer needing me to pour their juice or pick out their clothes (did I really ever do that?), one of the things I miss most is the evening ritual. The clean sheets, soft pajamas, freshly washed hair and the excitement as they chose their books for the nighttime read aloud. They always picked out more than their dad or I wanted to read, but usually they won, we relented and read the whole pile. Now with one off to college and the other one leaving in the fall, I go into their rooms and look at the long forgotten, childish books standing lonely on the shelf, passed over in favor of more grown up novels that suit young men who are fast leaving (or have left) their teenage years behind them.
It’s not that I pine to have children that I can read to again—though I do miss it. I know that the adventure of badgers and dueling pirates will be dusted off, brought out of retirement and read to my boys’ children. I guess my hope in writing this is to encourage those who find themselves in the throes of childhood, with all its trying times, to soak up every moment they have with their kids—that they will sink into the sometimes-tiresome nighttime ritual of freshly bathed babies who are piling up book after book in the read aloud pile. My wish is that you read every book, even though I know you are bone weary and long to have a moment to yourself.
Moments to yourself are coming—faster than you can imagine. It’s as if the wind blows and with it carries away childhood, blowing your children beyond your care into lives of their own. And you will find yourself at the back of the wind, watching them be carried further away, feeling pride and joy and heartbreaking sadness. As they whirlwind into their own life, and alone, you go into their rooms and mark each stage of their life by the books you read to them each night, I promise you will never regret reading to the bottom of the pile every night.
The wind is coming, whether you only hear faint rumblings far off in the distance, or you already feel the first draught wafting every so lightly across your face; it is the way of life. As that gust gathers speed, know that you will never regret the time spent, the games played, the books read. To the contrary, time spent together represents an anchoring force as the gales blow your babies away. Those times together will be the tie that binds and enables your children to find their way back to you in the tumultuous storm of life.
Spend lots of time with your kids. Read to the bottom of the pile. Keep Shining. Peace Out!
Epic Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 12 medium size muffins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1/3 cup ground flaxseed + 2 tablespoons (buy the whole flax and grind it in a coffee grinder – it’s much cheaper and fresher that way). Put the 2 TBSP of ground flax in a small bowl and combine with 6 TBSP warm water. Mix with fork and set aside. (This is the substitution for the egg)
2 Cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (found at health food stores or on Amazon)
1/3 – 1/2 coconut sugar.
2 TBSP Vanilla
1 medium to large size banana mashed
1/2 – 3/4 Water, depending on size of banana. You want the dough moist, but not runny.
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/3 – 1/2 cup peanut butter.
Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips & peanut butter together in bowl until well combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and peanut butter (you can soften peanut butter in microwave to make it stir in more easily).
Fill well greased muffin tin about 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I often turn the oven to broil and broil for about 1 – 2 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn. This gives them a nice brown crispy top! Let cool a bit in muffin pan and then remove and cool on wire rack. Enjoy!