Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bedtime Stories and Unconditional Love

I have always loved reading, so I feel blessed that Grace loves when we read to her, and also that she has plenty of books to pick from.  We have our favorites that we like to read to her at night, like Curious George, the Berenstain Bears and of course, Dr. Suess.
But Grace definitely has her favorites too.  So, we usually read one or two of our favorites and then two of her favorites every night.  Kyle and I are also enjoying reading the Harry Potter series to Grace, so we usually read a few pages of that to her too.
Among Grace's favorite books is one called Hooray for My Family, written by Victoria Osteen. It was a set of three board books given to Grace shortly after she was born by Greg and Kim Matthews from our church family. They have always been among her top choices, especially the family one.
When I lay beside her to read it at night, her eyes completely light up when you hold up Hooray for My Family.  It has a photo of an illustration of a family at the dinner table, and we always point out the daddy, the mommy and the Grace, as well as the kitty, Joey.
It's a "touch and feel" book, and when Grace was able, she knew exactly the places on each pages that were special.  She also liked to help turn the pages, which always made me smile.
The book has a page for each family member, and each one rhymes.
  • Hooray! Hooray for family!
  • I love the one I've got!
  • My mommy helps me take a bath,
  • so I won't smell like Spot!
Funnily enough, Grace's favorite page is about being thankful for her aunt and uncle. The aunt in the illustration has red, curly hair, and she starts talking as soon as we turn to that page, even though two of Grace's aunts have very blonde hair.
But most importantly, the book is a constant reminder of the importance of family.  We are so lucky to have both sets of our parents close to us, and they are a great help with Grace.  Grace loves the chance to play with her cousins and her aunts and uncles, and just loves being around the people that love her the most.  I think that's probably why she loves that book so much.  It seems like it was written about the people that she cares the most about. 
We have read it to her so many times that both Kyle and I know it by heart.  But we never stop reading it to Grace each and every night, because her eyes light up when we read it, just like they light up when she spends time with her family.
The other book we read every night is called, All the Ways I Love You, and was a Christmas present from her Grandma and Grandpa Galer one year.  It's another rhyming book, and a short one. But it's also one that we know by heart.
  • I love you quicker than a minute.
  • I love you longer than an hour.
  • I love you like the honeybee
  • Loves buzzing round a flower.
The book talks about all the ways a momma bear loves her baby cub, and it makes my heart so happy to read it to Grace. The final page talks about the unconditional love that parents have for their children.
  • I love you round and round the world.
  • I love you through and through.
  • And when it seems impossible
  • to love you more . . . I do.
Sometimes, if Kyle and I are reading it together to her, we change all the I's to We's. I don't actually know if Grace understands the words as we are reading them to her, and I know she may never be able to say the words, "I love you." But I do know without a doubt, that Grace knows the unconditional love we have for her. We see it when her eyes light up when we are playing, or in the smile she gives us when she is happy. And we know that she loves us too, even if she can't use those words.
I don't know the exact number of times we have read these books to Grace, yet I never tire reading either of them to her.  I will share with her the importance of family and unconditional love as many chances as I get, especially since I already know the stories by heart.


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