forming a bond

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Moving to a different continent provides you with all sorts of opportunities. Not only will there be all sorts of adventures to be had in a new home, but the process of moving itself will create a chance for reminiscing, for examination of a lifetime’s worth of memories and for prioritization of what really matters in terms of material goods. After all, travelling with only a few suitcases is no easy task!

In our family, perhaps like in yours, photographs are treasured. This photo frame was a gift from a good friend just after our second child was born. In the picture, she is held in the arms of her older sister, preserved forever in a precious moment. I can remember those days pretty well, even if sleep was scarce. We took regular walks around the streets of our small town. We staged plays about sewing shops in the bushes across from the playground; I guess I must have done a bit of sewing back then! We sang songs, all day every day. We walked our dog around the block after dinner every evening. We read books…..and then we read more books……

Reading was certainly a reason for us all to congregate on the couch during snowy winter evenings, or to seek shade under a tree if we went exploring outdoors. Books came with us wherever we went…..to the doctor’s office (oh, yes, I remember plenty of those times)....to our favorite daffodil field in April and our local wildlife reserve in September, when we sometimes sat in the dark of the bird viewing hut and could barely see the words. We carried books in backpacks, in home made carrier bags and in eye-catching horse-themed luggage sent from abroad (think of the wooden horse of Troy, but a fuzzy version). We, the parents, loved our job as full-time readers until, one day, we were given our pink slip. By watching us and listening to us, someone much younger had finally caught on to the trick herself. We negotiated and were retained on contract, however, ensuring an appropriately happy continuation to the story…... 

Reading is a very important community-building exercise within family members and the sooner we begin to share this experience with our children, the better. Long before they can speak, babies can absorb the special sense of connection that is fostered when a simple picture book is shared. The physical closeness of the activity, the visual stimulation of the pictures and the sounds of language itself are of interest to the youngest family members. Whether we are reading, or listening, the act of sharing a book together is one of life’s magical moments in which, together, we are forming a bond.