“Bring your books in to read!” I instructed then four-year-old H when we arrived at the gym where we would watch her oldest sister practice basketball. H replied indignantly, “Ahem. Lady. I can’t read.” Her comment has inspired much laughter in the five years since the little short stuff informed me of this gap in her education.
When last spring rolled around and she was struggling to grasp phonics, I began to worry that her declaration would always be true! And it would always be my fault! And that her husband would blame me! Now, at the age of eight, she was spouting complaints like, “Reading is too hard!” and “Reading is stupid!” Her personality is such that if she can’t do something perfectly the first time, she gets frustrated and gives up, tears fly, tempers flare (hers and mine), and everyone has a generally
wonderful awful time…
Early last spring, I suddenly developed some medical issues that landed me in the ER and earned me a three-day getaway at our local hospital. Our academics were hit-and-miss after that (ahem, more hit-and-miss than usual), so when we stopped for the summer, H still couldn’t read very well at all. I always say we are going to “do school” during the summer, but we never do, well, because it’s summer. However, H has always enjoyed hauling home a basket full of library books, curling up on the couch, and burying her face in them. We also snuggle up and read together with her little sister at least once a day, usually twice, so books are always part of the picture at our house.
After another hospital stay for me and various summer activities, we began our formal academics once again in September. When I sat down with H to work with her on phonics, I realized her book from the spring was far too easy. All of a sudden, she was reading! I felt God’s grace just wash over me in that moment, so strongly that it was like He said to me, “I did this for you.” I felt His reassurance that I don’t need to fret and strive, that He will be strong for me when I am weak, filling in my gaps for His glory. This was especially comforting as I looked ahead to a major double surgery in October. I even ended up with an extra long recovery time because of a complication, but I was able to rest in the knowledge that the Lord would take care of mine and the children’s needs.
As for H’s reading, she is now devouring chapter books, disappearing to her room for hours at a time. What a joy to hear her response when I ask her what she is doing: reading.
And the smirk on her face is priceless when, just for the fun of it, we repeat her words back to her: Ahem. Lady. I can’t read.
Ahem. Praise the Lord, she can!
The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting. Psalm 138:8a (NAS)
Janice Powell 2013