“Where’s my black shirt, honey? You know, the one with the long sleeves?” I queried.
“I saw it downstairs. I’ll grab it for you,” my wife answered. And off she went. I couldn’t believe the hustle and bustle of the day had begun at 6:30 in the morning. Wasn’t this supposed to happen after I get home from work? But not today. Today was a little special. I glanced over at my kindergartner sitting on my bed with my one year-old. Yep, there was a twinkle in her eye. She knew today was special: Papa was going to dress like Cat in the Hat. When had that ever happened?
My wife returned presently with my black shirt, and the process began in earnest. Scooping up my youngest baby, I headed downstairs with my five year-old in tow. “His tummy needs to be white, Mama,” I heard her say. This girl knew her Cat in the Hat.
As I made my way to the kitchen, I shot my wife a questioning look. Hmm…a white belly? Let’s see… “Ideas?” my face tried to wordlessly ask.
“Hold on, I think I know what we can do,” she responded. And she was off. A minute later she returned with fabric scissors and a large piece of white felt. Where did that come from? Brilliant!
And that is how the morning proceeded. Between the expert consultation of a kindergartner, the mad McGyver-like skills of my wife, and the moral support of my new baby, by 7:15 I had, indeed, become Cat in the Hat!
Because of the expert work of my team at home, our Read Across America Celebration was a little more fun. And sometimes going all-out to promote reading…well, it’s worth it, right? Yes, I received some strange looks driving to work, I’m not going to lie. But as adults who are in the privileged position to impact young people, sometimes we need to go a little over the top to brand ourselves as lovers of books, as readers, as people who live the words we preach to children: reading matters. In the words of journalist and author Simon Van Booy, we want to exude the message, “[I] read books because I love them, not because I think I should read them.”
Thank you to my team at home for making this transformation possible.