Back in October I was shopping for birthday presents for Sam, and ended up wandering through the book section of a boutique toy store. While browsing the chapter books, I saw Ozma of Oz.
Now, while The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with its various permutations and forms is an amazing story, it is not the Oz book that I fell in love with. I fell in love with Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, and the The Emerald City of Oz.
I loved reading about the Nome King and his underground mine. I delighted in the desert that surrounded Oz, and in the relationship between Ozma and Dorothy, who, in the books, looks nothing like Judy Garland. I wanted to learn more about Tik-Tok of Oz, and the Patchwork Girl of Oz, and I checked those books out from the library over and over.
I imagined that the fantasy land of Oz might be something Sam would enjoy, so I bought The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, imagining the two of us cuddled together night after night as I read a chapter a day. After we finished that book, we would move on to the next, and not only would I get to expose Sam to the world of Oz, but I would get to reread the stories and remember what I loved so dearly about the books.
So one day after his birthday, I read the first chapter to Sam. And he was duly unimpressed. It was several days later before I could entice him back to let me read chapter two to him. This chapter is quite exciting what with munchkins, the promise of wizards, and the squishing of a witch.
I finished reading the chapter just as some friends pulled up for a playgroup, and I put the book down. We played with our friends and after they left, I was returning a phone call when Sam came up with the book.
“We’ll read another chapter as soon as I get off the phone,” I said, completely thrilled that Sam liked the book too.
But when I got off the phone, do you know what I found? I found him well past where we had left off together—he was reading it himself. And he wouldn’t stop. He sat on the couch for two hours and read. He read in the car on the way to speech therapy. He read while Jack got his therapy. He turned on his car light on the way home so he could read in the car some more.
I’m completely devastated, of course.
I mean, sure he’s reading a chapter book by himself; sure he picked a book over a video game while in a waiting room; sure he loves the book the way I did.
But, dammit, I was going to read it to him.
I’ll get over the bitterness, but it’s going to take time. Sam got way too old, way too fast.