I had a spare hour earlier today and decided to spend it sorting and shelving books in our school book room. It was all going well, and I was making an impressive dent in the enormous pile- finding tubs, figuring out levels, checking the master list, separating the independent books from those that were part of sets- until I came across several books from the Little Bear series.
I stopped and sat down on the tile floor of the book room and started reading. Memories flooded my brain. Those books, by Else Holmelund Minarik, perhaps more than any others, take me back 18 years to when my girls were small. They loved Little Bear. We read the books constantly. They passed along kisses just like Little Bear. They pretended to snack on bread and jam just like Little Bear. They said “I’m not tired.” just like Little Bear. They tried to help with chores just like Little Bear. They convinced their father to flip pancakes in the air just like Little Bear’s father. They couldn’t wait to read the books again and again.
And then we discovered the videos. Lots and lots of Little Bear stories to watch. Again and again. Sometimes we’d watch together, snuggled on the sofa in our family room. Sometimes the girls would climb up onto a chair and watch by themselves while I fixed dinner or folded laundry nearby.
For a few minutes, when I should have been shelving books in the book room, I was sitting on the tile floor reading, remembering, smiling, reliving, all at once.