I have finally managed to wade through the many boxes and crates of Christmas decorations. Our tree is up and decorated, the outside lights are twinkling, and the mantle is dressed with a garland, stockings, and candles galore. In the search through these goodies, I came across two special gifts from last Christmas.
I am a big fan of Hallmark's recordable books. Last Christmas, I bought The Night Before Christmas and Frosty the Snowman, and sent them to my grandparents in New Jersey to record. They recorded their voices reading these Christmas treasures, and sent them back for the boys to open on Christmas. After Christmas, I put them away with our decorations, to be a special treat this year.
I left the books on my night stand, thinking that I would have to do some encouraging to get the boys to look at the books and pay them a lot of attention... to love them as I do.
As I stood in the kitchen, I thought I heard my Grandpa Milt's voice. That seemed odd. Then all of a sudden, Grandma Mary's voice was there too... the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon might be there.
What a cool feeling. My hope in purchasing those books and having my grandparents (my kids' great-grandparents) record their voices was that these books would become treasured holiday memories, shared with family far away. All my grandparents live in New Jersey, and with our various difficulties traveling, we don't see each other nearly as much as we'd like. The books seemed like a way for Will, Luke and Matt to sit and enjoy a story with a special great-grandparent... a voice than they are used to hearing, with a special message to them personally and a wonderful story to share.
Luke was the first to pick up the books. He loves both stories. He understands the way the books work and know what page you're on - so he always sits by the brightest light when he's looking at the books. He repeats the pages that he likes. I think his favorite is Nana Jean's page in Frosty the Snowman when Frosty led them down the streets of town right to a traffic cop. He finds a way to lay the book on the ground so he can physically participate when he heard him holler STOP!
Now Luke has gotten Will and Matt to get excited about the books. We try to keep the books out of Matt's hands, though, since he doesn't quite love them how we'd like yet!
Every night before bed, Luke pulls out the two treasures and sits on Will's bed to read them together. Will enjoys looking at the pictures as Luke turns the pages. But I think Will's favorite part is that someone is actually reading a story to him!
Grandma Jean, Grandpa Milt, and Grandma Mary - I know that it took a little tech savvy to record these books, but you've done good! Your voices (and swallows and burps - love it!) resonate through our house each day of this most wonderful of seasons. I hope you know that although we're very far away, there are 5 people here who love you very much and enjoy the sound of your voices more than you can even know.