As I’ve said, we have had quite a few weeks now of reading Charlotte’s Web. I’m not talking the small child’s book; I am reading them from the 1952 hardback edition that I found quite some time ago during one of my “old book” forays. This evening, we finished the book. I read the last two chapters. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how well I was reading it. How deeply my boys were getting into it.
I got to the part about Charlotte dying and both my boys had tears in their eyes. I paused and reminded them that everyone dies and, most likely, Charlotte was in heaven with God Himself. I also added that they had forgotten a surprise. My older boy piped up, “Charlotte’s eggs!” “Yes, Caiden. Remember, she has 514 babies coming,” I replied and then we talked about Wilbur not being alone, after all.
I forgot about the last chapter where nearly all of Charlotte’s babies fly away. At that point, where it says, “He couldn’t bear to watch anymore. In sorrow he sank to the ground and closed his eyes. This seemed like the end of the world, to be deserted by Charlotte’s children. Wilbur cried himself to sleep.”
Just at that moment, where my voice was very sad and I was reading it and trying to engage them in the story the best way I knew how, my baby got a weird look on his face and his eyes were full of tears. I asked him, “Are you ok?” He sobbed and cried tears big enough to fit in the Mississippi and not get lost as he said, “I don’t want Wilbur to be alone!”
We spent a few moments with me snuggling and cuddling him and trying to console him. I was laughing at the thought that I had so completely engaged my boys into the story while I was crying because my son was so very sad. Caiden was sad, as well, but he didn’t burst out in huge tears. I finally told Brendan, “Wait. Just a minute. Listen to this!”
He stopped the wailing just long enough to listen as I read the last of the story, where three of Charlotte’s daughters stayed with Wilbur and everything turned out alright. When done, the baby was still sad but I gave him the book so he could look at the pictures and he seemed ok. For nearly five minutes, he stared at last picture of the book, where the three daughters and Wilbur were getting acquainted.
I offered to let them watch the movie, now that we were done the book. That seemed an alright thing to do and so we set it up on the VCR in Brendan’s room. It’s a special treat to watch a movie in his room, so they scurried off to watch it.
Except, I forgot something.
In the beginning, Fern cries huge tears because Wilbur leaves her to go live on Mr. Zuckerman’s farm.
Here we go again!
When I had finally consoled the baby, I tried to sneak away to do something else while they watched the movie. I detest movies with a lot of useless singing (the children’s movies, as we all know) and I was going to go bananas if I had to sit through the entire thing.
The baby followed me. My poor Brendan was on my heels for the rest of the night, occasionally breaking out in tears and being near inconsolable. Next time I read a story? They get naps before so they aren’t as weepy. It was so sad – and I did it to them! Or, maybe I shouldn’t read so well and then they don’t get caught up in the story, right?
We’re going to start on Kipling’s story about how an elephant got his trunk, tomorrow night. Maybe that will turn out better!
More to come as I catch up,
Thank you for listening,