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Mark Llobrera

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Sophie Reads to Me

My morning usually goes something like this: I wake at 6:15am (ish). I read, pray, and then use the bathroom (which I try to do as silently as possible, because if I don’t wake the kids there is the slenderest chance that I might crawl back in bed next to my wife).

But on this particular morning Sophie—my two-year-old—is already up. I pick her up and change her. Before I even set her down on the floor, her legs are already churning: a wind-up toy awaiting release. When I ask her to grab a book, however, she stops running immediately. She chooses one, crawls up onto the couch, and offers it to me. “This one?” she requests.

Today it’s one of her Olivia books, one we’ve read hundreds of times. I start turning the pages. I make it about two pages in before she wrests the book away, saying, “I read a you”.

That’s…new. Sometimes she wants to read by herself, but this is the first time she’s asked to read to me. I fold her in my arms and gently rest my chin on her head while she reads. She mimics my vocal inflections from past readings. She can’t actually read, of course. But she’s memorized the book’s rhythms so well that she doesn’t miss a detail.

And then she’s done, scooting off the couch to get on with her day. I close my eyes for a minute, balancing on the razor-thin line between wakefulness and sleep. Sometimes a life unfolds so gently, you could almost mistake it for a dream.