Our most valuable acquisition so far has been a box of children’s books.
Although the collection is in great shape, I doubt it would have fetched more than a few bucks at the kind of old-fashioned yard sale where many a childhood library has been lost.
On the other hand, it is impossible to put a price tag on the joy Zac is taking in introducing our son to his boyhood pals with the very books in which he met them himself.
Curious George, Winnie the Pooh and the Berenstain Bears will live on for at least another generation.
Based on the worn condition of the cover and the groan we heard from his dad the day we pulled it out of the box, “Green Eggs and Ham” was a favorite book of young Zachary Cohron.
It must be hereditary because Wyatt has asked me to read “that ham one” more than any other title since “Are You My Mother?” was added to his bookshelf.
He has also discovered that a reading of Dr. Seuss is even better with props. When he brings me the book, he is usually holding some plastic scrambled eggs on a plate from his toddler-sized kitchen.
Wyatt will eventually outgrow these stories just as his daddy did before him, and they will go back to gathering dust.
When he is reunited with them, maybe with a little redhead of his own by his side, it is likely that eReaders or some other invention will have permanently replaced bound volumes of paper and ink.
However, “Green Eggs and Ham” just won’t be the same without the dog-eared corners and scribble marks.
It will be great if these books survive the coming of age of a second rambunctious owner so that Zac can read them to our grandchildren one day.
More importantly, I hope Wyatt is learning some larger lessons as he gets tucked in each night for a bedtime story.
I hope he is developing a love for reading that Zac and I have carried since childhood.
Soon enough, Wyatt will be trained to see books as a homework assignment, an obstacle course of words and sentences to navigate as quickly as possible.
Now is the time for him to learn that books are the window to a world of imagination. Even if the pages crumble with age, the words are timeless.
Also, I hope Wyatt sees that his daddy loves him so much that he always makes time for him.
Based on my brief experiences as a parent, little boys believe easily in a mother’s love. The relationship between fathers and sons seems a bit more complicated.
Even at 3 years old, Wyatt wants to follow closely in his father’s footsteps.
He wants a tie to wear to church “just like Daddy.” He wants tools to fix broken appliances “just like Daddy.”
Already, Wyatt looks to me for comfort and to Zac for approval.
I hope memories of the hours that Zac spent reading to him in ridiculous, gender-appropriate voices will help him understand during those tumultuous teen years to come that he doesn’t have to earn the right to be called son. He gained unconditional acceptance from Zac the day that he was born.
Finally, I hope Wyatt is one day able to understand the significance of what happens when we reach the end of each night’s story and kneel next to his bed to pray.
Wyatt has posed several spiritual questions lately, particularly about the cross.
I have found that it is impossible to explain everything to him, especially when I am still trying to figure some of it out myself.
One thing I do know is that it is important for us to start laying a foundation that he can build on as he grows.
Unlike physical possessions, faith cannot be passed on from parents to children.
We can introduce them to our traditions and tell them what we have come to believe and why, but they must make their own decisions. In order to be meaningful, their walk must be their own.
Thankfully, there is a pretty big book to guide us all along the journey.