I've been sitting here looking through three Junie B. Jones books, on a mission to share a particularly moving passage with you. For those of you not blessed with little rascals of your own, Junie B. Jones is the funny, precocious, quirky character of chapter books for elementary school children. They're written by Barbara Parks, whom Jenna tells me, somewhat amazed, "has written other stuff too!"
The thing about these Junie B. Jones books that surprised me: They are hilarious. I didn't realize it. I hate to admit this, but since Jenna reads on her own now, I haven't read a Junie B. book to her. Truth is, I didn't know until last night they were so funny.
Last night I hear Jenna just doubled-over on her bed, laughing herself into a wheeze. I knew she was reading, and I smiled. I don't think any of Jenna's accomplishments have brought actual tears down my cheeks the way hearing her read has--hearing my child enjoy reading, get it, love it, explain it, want more of it. Man, that is one of parenting's best moments.
Anyway, she's laughing herself silly, and she comes running into my room with one of her Junie B. Jones books in hand. She says:
"Mom, you gotta hear this. You just have to--oh my gosh!"
"What is it; here crawl in bed and read it to me."
She sits up on the bed and proceeds to read:
I looked at Camille and Chenille.
And Guess what?
My eyes popped right out of my head!
Because wowie wow wow!
Those girls were twins, that's why!
I sprang way high in the air.
"TWINS! TWINS! THEY'RE TWINS, LUCILLE! THIS IS OUR LUCKY DAY!"
I pulled on her again.
"Come on, Lucile! Let's go touch them. Hurry, before a line forms!"
At this point, Jenna is doubled over again: "Hurry before a line forms!" she's laughing and I'm actually belly laughing myself now, because I'm thinking of that line myself, "Let's go touch them." and "Hurry, before a line forms." And you have to admit, that's downright Saturday Night Live funny in kid terms. After all, you've got a set of twins and this little girl is so amazed by them she's wigged right out wanting to touch real, live, actual twins before the entire first grade lines up to do the same.
Well, we had fun the rest of the evening with our booklight and three other Junie B. Jones books, Jenna showing me her favorite illustrations and favorite parts--all of them just plain funny I might add.
And I drifted to sleep thinking about my Junie B. Jones, Pippi Longstocking. And I thought, I've got to get some old Pippi Longstocking books to show Jenna what mama used to read sort of like Junie B. Jones, Pippi with her mismatched clothes and long, wild pigtails and freckles, and how I used to laugh when she'd get in a bind, and how very very much I loved to read...
And how very very much I still do.