This not very high def photo was taken with the camera on my MacBookPro. An NSA product, no doubt. It has a three second timer, so I had that long to get from pushing the start button to finding a seat next to my niece, Annie. I missed getting into position the first and second tries. And I barely made it for this one. Mostly because our Thanksgiving repast was weighing me down and I couldn't move very quickly.
Included in the photo are my much younger little brother, my sis-in-law, and their three cute kids. No longer in the picture were a delicious citrus-brined turkey, butternut squash risotto with shallots and pancetta, shaved Brussels sprouts with bacon, green beans with bacon or pancetta or both [I forget], homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, an amazing gravy [the citrus brine made incredible drippings], and homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. Clearly, the choice of bacon/pancetta played an important part in the day's feast. Like mustard at a hot dog eating contest.
To have some special Thanksgiving bonding time with the kids, I, Auntie Grandma, so-called because I'm their aunt, but I'm old enough to be their grandma, volunteered to read a book each night to my beloved niece and nephews. And put them to bed as well. How hard could that be? Sadly a lot of time and memory has passed since Auntie Grandma was raising her own children. And wishing someone else would put them to bed. But the joy in her brother and sister-in-law's face was so heartwarming. . .
The stories requested were all from the well illustrated Ready Freddy series of books. And each one was only about 88 pages long. Easy peasy.
Too late, she realized she had bitten off more than she could chew. Along with showing each illustration, doing all the voices, and reading with great drama, it took about an hour for Auntie Grandma to get through just one book. Nah, she wasn't looking at the clock. Or stifling a yawn. Nope. Not. Once. And she felt so self righteous when she was done. Then, faster than an ugly blind date, she bid her cutie pies good night, turned off the light, and closed the door. Like darkness would magically lull them to sleep. Naturally, they went along with this fiction. Until she was far enough away.
Meanwhile, during story hour, "The Little Raccoons" spent their precious reading time [which their Auntie Grandma knows they will recall with fondness during future therapy sessions] by climbing down from their bunk beds back up to the top of the dresser, then jumping down to the floor. Again. And again. And again. [NOTE: "The Little Raccoons" is a charming nickname bestowed upon the 6, 7, and 9-year-old siblings by their loving parents, who realized they could always find them by following the trail of breadcrumbs, spilled juice, and wrappers they leave behind].
But lest you think all was insanity, Auntie Grandma soon learned these acrobatics were just little kids multi-tasking, because this pack of Flying Wallendas never lost track of the story. Not. Once. "Hey, you skipped a part."
In case you're interested, here's a cover of one of the 28 or so different Ready Freddy books available for purchase, so you, too, can spend quality time with the little ones in YOUR lives. Next time, Auntie Grandma plans to try reading her young charges some Kipling. They'll be asleep in no time.