Read Me – TELLTALE SOULS Story No. 5

Photo contributed by Samantha: “Reading to my best friend.”

I’m back from a bad case of the flue, but, as promised, I’m bringing you another story excerpt from my guidebook, TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit.  It begins on page 62 of Act Two in the section entitled “Locating & Orienting.”

You can easily find the stories I’ve posted from the book by searching “Bio-Vignette No.”

Pre-teen Samantha’s story brings up more memories of how precious are the simple times mothers and daughters spend together. This little TellTale Soul noticed that she had a good thing going. It’s also one of those universal stories through which mothers the world over can connect.

 

Read Me

By Samantha Kirchhoff

The last thing my mom and I used to do before I went to sleep each night was our most special time together. But to get there we went through a few stages, while I was growing up. Long before I can even remember, and up until just awhile ago, my mom would cuddle in bed with me each night for about half an hour of reading. Then she’d silently wait until I was fast asleep so she could finally sneak out of my room, hoping I wouldn’t wake up. I called this “read me to bed,” which shortened over the years to just “read me.” My dad took turns with Mommy “reading me,” and my big brother and sister had some turns, too, but it was mostly Mommy.

“Read me to bed” changed as I changed. After I learned to read, my mom encouraged me to read out loud to her, so I’d get some practice with my reading skills. But when I was through with my story, I still needed to hear the sound of her voice reading to me. I liked the way her voice rose and fell as she made the stories more exciting, and I loved the funny or scary voices she’d use to make the characters sound real. I never seemed to outgrow my need for this, but “read me” eventually progressed to each of us reading our own books silently, side by side, in my bed. As I grew older, after the last of my reading for the night and a final hug and kiss, the second I turned over to go to sleep questions would start popping into my head or I’d think of other things that had happened during the day that I just had to tell her. She was still there, of course, reading to herself and waiting patiently to hear my sleeping breath so she could sneak out. I just couldn’t go to sleep until we’d talked about everything on my mind, so I’d open my eyes, and we’d talk for awhile. Usually finding something to giggle about. We never forgot to have fun.

By the time I was about ten, Mommy was getting pretty tired of “reading me to bed” because she’d get so warm and cozy and comfortable in my bed and then have to move to her own bed, after I’d fallen asleep. That’s when a new ritual took shape that still exists today—with a twist.

This latest ritual is referred to as “tuck me in,” and it has never included anyone else—only my mom could tuck me in. It was still our special time, and it didn’t take nearly as long as “read me” did. It was, in some ways, a game—one that I usually won. Before I started getting ready for bed each night, I would say, “Mommy, don’t forget you have to tuck me in.”

Then she said, “You’d better hurry up. I’m almost ready for bed, and I’m not going to wait for you, I’m too tired.”

That’s when I turned into Speedy Gonzales and got ready as fast as I could (either that or I’d find a way to slow her down so she wouldn’t be ready so soon). When we were both finally ready for bed, I called from my room, “Okay, Mommy, I’m ready, tuck me in.”

Then she predictably replied, “You’d better be in bed and ready to turn off the light by the time I get in there.” (Which meant that I needed to already have my alarm set, have my covers all perfect, and have my Carmex on).

She’d come in and sit down next to me on my bed for what I think she imagined would be about thirty seconds, but what turned out to be ten minutes—if I was lucky. I held onto her hand so that she couldn’t get up easily and leave, and we hugged and kissed. With her smooth, white cotton nightgown, or delicate flannel pajamas, she was always so soft and cuddly, welcoming more hugs. And no matter how cold it was under my sheets when I got in, she brought warmth.

That’s when, as usual, I remembered things I’d wanted to tell her or ask her advice about earlier, so I started talking up a storm. We laughed and talked for a while, and then she “remembered” that she was supposed to go to her own bed awhile ago, and she tried to get up and leave. But I almost always could get her to stay a little bit longer with the excuse that I had just remembered something else or that I just needed one more hug and kiss, including our special Eskimo or butterfly kisses. When I finally let her…she switched off my light, and I went to sleep happy with the thought that I knew she knew my tricks, but she puts up with them because she loves me and does her best to give me her time whenever she can.

Those extra ten minutes with my mom were the absolute best way to end each day. On rare occasions, when I didn’t get ready quickly enough and she was exhausted or already in her own bed, I tippy-toed in to kiss her good night. But I didn’t sleep as well if I had to crawl into bed without her “tucking me in.”

I love you and I like you, too.

Samantha Kirchhoff: “I always liked listening to stories, especially from my Mom. But I also liked reading to my dog, Woody, when Mommy was busy.”

Daughters and sons from 9 to 90 use The Story Woman’s TELLTALE SOULS METHOD to move memory into memoir in a                uniquely creative way.

You can easily find the stories I’ve posted from the book by searching “Bio-Vignette No.”

Comments

  1. pamela wight says:

    I LOVE this story, and the photo that goes with it. Sweet, loving, kind and the best part of childhood and the joy of reading and loving.

  2. admin says:

    I know why you love this story – you thrive on the joy of reading and loving and writing!

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