May 02, 2011


For Mothers Day, I signed up for Readeo and invited the grandparents to join as guests.  Readeo is a video chat with onscreen books that the grandparents can read to the kids or the kids to the grandparents, and there are something like 150 books to choose from.  It has changed the way my parents interact with the kids online.  Since the majority of their relationship is developed and maintained online, this is huge.  The kids never want to get away from the screen.  They laugh and point and ask questions.  Dad gets goofy with special effects, just like he did when I was a kid, and Mom's soothing and articulate voice holds their attention like magic. 

Tonight, when Bright sight-read a book for Mom, he sounded out the word "yogurt" but pronounced it with a short "o" sound.  The boys thought that was HILARIOUS and proceeded to whoop and holler and guffaw, saying "yah-gurt" over and over again.  I could see my mom on the other end of the call, smiling broadly with her headed cocked to the side, drinking in the sounds of the boys' laughter.  She has not heard them laugh like that since July.

Books.  They are our friends at 11:30 p.m. while our husbands snore beside us.  They are our friends when we face a new monster and don't know what to do.  They made us laugh in the first 6 weeks of motherhood when, if we hadn't laughed, we would have thrown ourselves in front of a bus.  They make us cry when our hearts are breaking and someone who's been there has written about it.  They make us feel.  They make us remember.  They make us think.  They make us forget.  They make us better people.

And now books are giving a couple of Michigan grandparents the opportunity to enter into the lives of their grandchildren on the other side of the world.  Do the miles still feel like light-years?  Sure.  They always will.  It is the hardest part of saying "yes" to this call.  But I have a feeling that, years from now, our grown children will feel dearer feelings for their grandparents because of the miles.  And because of books.