This one wouldn't be a milestone on everyone's path to literacy, but it mattered to me. For my daughter's first week of summer vacation I didn't enroll her in any day camps or other childcare - I wanted her to experience the start of summer in a relaxed way. On that Wednesday we went out to lunch, and then popped into the used bookstore across the street. She was quite impressed, saying: "So many books!!" in awed tones. Heading back to the car with our loot, we tossed ideas back and forth for what to do with the afternoon. And then I struck bookworm parental gold. I said: "You could read up in the treehouse." And so was born what is sure to be one of my favorite memories of the summer.
I should explain that our treehouse is more of a "tree platform", though that doesn't have the same ring to it. There is one section with a partial wall that one can lean against. And that is where my daughter headed, with her water bottle and her current Ivy and Bean book. As for me, I sat at the patio table right next to the treehouse with my own book in hand, ready to pass things up to the treehouse reader as needed. She finished one book and moved seamlessly on to the next. And me? I let out a very deep breath, feeling the most relaxed I had felt all week.
It was very quiet, with the wind moving the branches of the tree about, and the temperature neither too hot nor too cold. I kept glancing up, looking at my daughter's bent head, smiling (and, ok, texting a photo to family members). Though the whole interlude didn't last more than an hour, it will stay in my memory as pure bliss.
I think the reason this particular experience resonated with me was that I used to sit reading in a tree in my side yard when I was a child. Even though it wasn't all that comfortable, there was something about the experience that I loved. I felt hidden away, reading in secret high above everyone else, able to see over the hedges to the street, feeling like part of the outdoors. Seeing my daughter having a similar experience felt … immensely comforting. In many ways my daughter is quite different from me. But we do have the enjoyment of reading in a tree in common. For a bookworm parent, it doesn't get much better than that.
How many of you ever read in a treehouse (or just up in a tree) as a kid?