December 18, 2010

Tears and Books

My son, D, age 6, is a voracious reader. He's been reading since he was 3 years old, and as of last year in kindergarten (at age 5) he was reading chapter books--sometimes 2-3 in one day. He is really into series books, and likes to own the books in the series. His favorites are Magic Treehouse, Beast Quest, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Boba Fett books. He is currently in the middle of reading The Chronicles of Narnia.

Needless to say, with him owning so many chapter books, he was running out of room on his bookshelf. Last week he cleaned out his books and gave all the ones he deemed too "babyish" to A. In turn, I had to clean out A's bookcase, and get rid of all the books that were too babyish for her. I ended up with a huge pile of books which I gave to my next door neighbor (who has a one year old; she was thrilled to get the books).

This whole process made me very sad. I've written before how I would love to slow time down, how time is just getting away from me. It seems like just last year when I was reading these "baby" books to my infant D. We spent night after night with these books....reading them...looking at the pictures. We had our favorites. Now they are cast out of his bedroom, to make room for books that I thought he wouldn't be reading for many more years (is my first grader REALLY reading Narnia?) In one afternoon, he disposed of all little-boy reading material.

And what of my daughter? She now loves to read books about Dora the Explorer, Olivia and the Disney Princesses. Although she still occasionally looked at the baby books, there was no need to keep them. Her bookcase is now filled with D's books; a whole new set of books to explore with her.

I know they are only books, but they represented a big part of my kids' childhoods. They were part of years of nightly tuck-ins, lullabies and snuggles. I will never get that phase back. The progression is forward, not backward. I cried many tears last week while cleaning out the bookcases. I know it's natural...but it's hard.


  1. my 15 yo was like that... I couldn't stand to give away any of them. they are safely packed in a box in the playroom closet, labeled and waiting for him to read them to his kids.

    He still has Where the Wild Things Are, Are You my Mother? and Love You Forever on his shelf. I'm fairly sure he still opens them up after a particularly hard day...

  2. It is so hard to get rid of the toys and books that they have outgrown. Those things hold so many memories....

    Great news about her eyes!

  3. I can honestly say I know how you feel. Our son will be 21 next month - where did it all go?! We have been stubbornly sentimental, and any book that any of us wanted to keep, was kept. Like Mama C said above. Barbara

  4. Now you completely understand how I feel about you and your sisters.


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