When we adopted Jackie, I traveled back in time and I got to live part of a childhood I didn’t have. There were no bedtime stories.

My grandma made us read Psalms at night, to keep my cousins and I occupied. I always suspected it was a trick to help my cousins with their reading. In the house we had a book of poems: “Osana” and a book of Bible stories: “Biblia pentru ochisori micuti”.

All in all we had everything we needed, routine, and love and a happy childhood.

Many years into parenting, we haven’t gotten sick of reading a thousand times the same stories, though we have plenty new ones to choose from. As Ivy joins us I realize she has more patience to listen to the whole story. Jackie liked to ask questions, and we learned to answer and dodge them to keep on reading, until she developed the desire to listen till the end. It was a race. But it was our connecting time, mutually beneficial.

We sent Evelyn recorded stories during quarantine. We read to her, to keep her engaged, connected, and to help her get familiar with our voices or simply to invite her into our love for books. She was already there, eager, patient, attentive. She doesn’t know the numbers or the colors, but she can connect with characters and remember details of every story we ever read to her. She quietly takes everything in.

Here is a story I read to both girls and Conrad filmed it by chance. I’m so grateful for it. One of the first ones I read to both my girls together.