This is the book that was the beginning of the end.
Each evening for years and years, Daniel, TG and I would huddle around a book on the couch, taking the adventure together, a chapter at a time. I would read out loud, relishing the warmth of my two little ones cuddled up against me.
Tommy had broken away on his own when he discovered the Goosebumps series in 3rd grade, devouring them one after another as fast as he could. Speed is addictive: he couldn't slow back down to our pace, savoring bites of the story, a little every day.
TG, Daniel and I were usually each reading something else as well on our own. But every night we'd come together for a special book. We'd take turns choosing it. This is when I introduced them to the Lord of the Rings, Call of the Wild, Black Beauty, Tarzan, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the Wizard of Oz series...
And then Daniel won a drawing in the school book fair. He got to pick any book he wanted, up to $15 value. We hadn't heard of the one above, but it looked promising. It had a cute cover, interesting-enough story line, and the kid on the front even looked a little like Daniel to me.
I didn't expect much from it, but I hadn't gotten through the first chapter before I felt jealous of the writing. The kids were irritated when I would stop reading in the middle of a critical scene to comment on some gem of a phrase or description.
That, plus they didn't want to wait 24 hours to know what happened next. It was mutiny on the couch. What could I do?
They drew straws to see who got to read it first. Within a couple of days all three kids had finished it and I finally got my turn. I'm sure I was through it within a day or two, also.
There was no going back after that. We tried to rendezvous over a book a few more times, but they'd had their taste of independence: our Reading Hour fizzled to an end.
All because of Harry Potter.
With each new HP book, the scenario repeated itself... drawing straws, all-night reading sessions, keeping your lips sealed until everyone had read the book. (You could hear the sigh of relief after I closed the book - I was always last.)
Meanwhile, my kids grew and grew and grew. HP movies were made and we'd dutifully buy our tickets and watch them, but we were never satisfied. Admittedly, I always enjoyed them because I've never been able to remember details of books as well as my kids - they're harsh critics, let me tell you! I raised a fine litter of critical reader-geeks!
With that in mind, we didn't rush to be the first in line to see the final HP movie. It was one excuse, at least. Can you guess my other excuse? I hated to say goodbye.
Yes, the book was finished long ago. I shed my tears back then, said goodbye to the characters, but I knew this movie was really the final goodbye to that era - an era of faces buried deep into books and kids who were shorter than me... of long summer days full of discussions about plot and character, good and evil.
But I couldn't resist any longer - today I sat with my two twenty-something-year-old kids who'd known Harry and company half their lives... who'd grown up with Harry and Hermione and Ron... munching tons of popcorn and Milk Duds, reliving the last decade while watching the end unfold before me... the end of an era.
(Guess what we did after the movie? Dropped into Half-Price Books, of course!)
And now, my Friday Favorite Photo, totally unrelated to Harry Potter. My crape myrtle is getting closer and closer to blossoming... I feared it had changed its mind due to lack of rain, but then I noticed this bud... I think it's going to make it!
Hope you had a wonderful, magical Friday!