Never Read Junie B. Jones at Bedtime

Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.

Psalm 95:2-3

Do you know the Junie B. Jones books? The Barbara Park series of silly books for children? Plum and I have been reading these and his laughter is the music I crave. I will read all night, I tell ya (a little Junie B. humor there) just to feel him collapse on my lap, unable to contain his delight. He, like thousands of children before him, find Junie to be outrageous and hysterical. Her sass, her thought process, her choices, all combine to create chaos for about 5 chapters until she gets sorted out, usually with a hug from her parents and a snuggle with her favorite stuffed animal.  He begs for one more chapter, one more please, more music to my ears. I remember his father doing the same as we read Harry Potter. Able to read by themselves but wanting that time together, to be close and experience the story with someone. I am grateful for the opportunity to read to this child as I read to his father so many years ago, to hear his giggles and his pleas to continue.

We are blessed to have a home filed with books, to have those favorites that we return to time and again, board books that I read to him as a toddler that he now flips through quickly, “Too easy, gran, too easy,” yet when the comfort of the familiar is what he desires, I notice that is what he has selected. We have children’s books in his room and figuring prominently in the living room, a bookcase exclusively for his growing collection. His subscription to the National Wildlife series of Ranger Rick magazines once took up a spot on the shelf, now the stack reside next to his bed, a favorite pre-bedtime pick. It is my indulgence like others buy purses or shoes or new make up or fancy watches, I buy this boy books. I am investing in his future, in his thoughts, in his development. I know what we do now will reverberate long into the future, in ways we cannot predict. I feel the pressure even more to get this right.

If I worship any thing beyond my God, it is education. I trust that my God is supportive of teaching this child His ways through silliness that causes great belly laughs even before bedtime, as we prepare this special boy to drift off to sleep and hand him over to the angels. I know I am blessed by every book we share, by every time he still crawls onto my lap, by the sweet sound of his voice as he begs for one more. We are blessed by children’s authors who understand that kids need an alter ego who gives voice to their desires while maintaining a sweet heart and a basic goodness. Junie B gets many chances to get it right, I think that is called grace. I am thankful we have her to remind us to offer that to each other.



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