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With life constantly throwing reminders at me that my kids are, in fact, growing up (cell phones, sleepovers, bike riding to school -- EEK!), I often get swept up in the everyday craziness of just trying to keep up with it all.  Half the time they don't want to talk to me, let alone listen to me, and, much to my dismay, hanging out with friends is starting to trump hanging out with Mom.  So on the rare occasion that one of my twinks wants to *gasp* snuggle with me and *gulp* sit and actually read a book with me, well, then, I pretty much need to milk that opportunity for all it's worth.

It was way past bedtime one day last week, and my son was STILL antsy and not anywhere near ready to lay his head down for the night (kinda typical of him actually).  Of course, this could not be more different than MY state of mind, as I was darn near collapsing after yet another carpooling marathon.  My daughter had already passed out in her bed, but my son was flat-out begging me to read a story to him.  I honestly didn't know if I could even keep my eyes open long enough to get through the first page of any book.  I was THAT exhausted.

However, when my little dude pulled "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel" off the shelf, my heart literally skipped a beat.  A big smile quickly spread over my worn-out face as I looked at the grinning kid before me.  All the sweet memories of reading that classic story over and over again to my boy as a toddler came flooding back to me, and suddenly, I wasn't so tired anymore.

My big fifth grader plopped his lanky body down into my lap, and I pulled him in close as we dove into the adventures of Mike and his partner, Mary Anne.  We've read it so many times that we probably could have recited the words by heart, but we lingered on each page nonetheless, appreciating each paragraph and illustration as if it was our first time. It truly was one of those warm and fuzzy parenting moments you dream about. And as much as I wished the story and that instant would go on forever, we got to the end way faster than I'd hoped.  If only I could've held onto him, I mean it, just a little while longer....

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