There is no laundry that needs to get done, no appointments to keep. And no dishes in the sink that need to be washed
I visit my daughter and her family.
I sit on a couch that I don’t have to clean, close to children I don’t have to dress, and I open a book of their choice — short or long, no matter.
I don’t think about the laundry that needs to get done. I don’t think about the appointments that need to be kept. And I don’t think about the dishes in the sink that need to be washed.
I am Buba.
I just see children’s faces, wanting to read a book. There’s nowhere else to go.
I hold the book in my hands. I feel the warmth of the children next to me. They’re snuggled into my sides.
We get settled. Now it’s quiet.
I hold the cover up for all of us to see. We explore the subject at hand by skimming the book cover. I watch their eyes move rapidly. I watch as they focus on one object. After some time, I ask: What do you think the book is about?
I savor the moment, as they interpret the book cover. I watch their faces as they make associations to their own lives.
We are now one, everybody thinking the same thing at the same time. Yet everyone thinks different things at the same time.
We pause and reflect before opening the book to the first page.
As we read, they ask, I answer. I wait for a child to answer. He or she comments, I listen. I ask other siblings to answer questions. I absorb their comments, ideas, and thinking processes.
Sometimes I read the exact wording. They ask me, “What does that word mean?”
I respond, “What do you think it means?”
We discuss the words, the meanings, and similar words and meanings, and the opposite words and meanings.
We discuss all this because there is no laundry that needs to get done, no appointments to keep. And no dishes in the sink that need to be washed.
I am Buba.
Sometimes I take the time to think of a better word to replace the words that are there, and as we turn each page, we discuss the characters and the pictures and the colors and the emotions the characters show.
I ask: What did the character do? Why did he do that? Was it fair? Was it right? Was it wrong? What would you have done? What do you think she will do next? What do you think will happen?
I ask, they answer. I ask a sibling to comment on his brother’s response. I ask if something like this ever happened to them? What would they do differently?
I listen to their responses. I remove myself from the discussion and observe the moment.
We repeat the process. Ask, tell, reword, explain a meaning, apply it to ourselves, pause, and reflect.
And even before it’s over, before the last page is turned, before they crash land out of their mindful adventure, they say, “Again.” They want to stay on the journey to places they’ve never seen, yet they now see. They want to stay in the lives of characters they will never meet, yet who they now know.
We do it all over again. There are similarities, the same questions, the consistent answers. There are differences, new insights, new perspectives, things we didn’t notice before and wonder about now. Now we know more. Now we can dive deeper.
We do it again, and again.
Because there is no laundry that needs to get done, no appointments to keep, and no dishes in the sink that need to be washed.
I am Buba.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 866)
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