Finishing Harry Potter
The twins and I finished Harry Potter. As in, we finished the whole series. Our last day with the last book contained a 9-hour-long reading session and a lot of tears that culminated in a massive headache. We ended by closing the last book and opening the first to read the opening paragraph. And it begins again.
My friend responded to the fact that we finished by writing me the final three words of the book: “all was well.” Three simple words, but I clung to them because I was so tired, so emotional, the whole thing was so bittersweet. You only get one first time. They will never read the books in the same way again. And that’s both a beautiful thing, but it’s also a hard thing to think about because… it means that they’re growing up and they’re growing away from me.
I hope I’ve taught them well.
I know it sounds a bit silly, but I feel like I started this journey with them in Kindergarten, shepherding them across a verbal river, and now, I’ve delivered them to the other side as promised. I got them to the end of the series without (for the most part) plot points being inadvertently spoiled.
And maybe silly as well, but reading the series aloud with the twins feels like one of the most important things I’ve done as a parent. I don’t think it had to be the Harry Potter series in particular, but I do think that the series itself helped. It gave me a door to talk about some very hard topics: not only how we process bullying or what we’ll do for our friends, but death and mourning and fear and love and hope.
By asking the twins over and over again while we read, “what would you do?” I learned who they were, what was important to them, how they viewed the world, and what they wanted for their future.
It made me love my children even more — something I didn’t think was actually possible — and I hope it helped them to understand me. What I was really doing when I was reading those books was reassuring them. That yes, the world is a big scary place, but we have each other. And that sort of connection is unending. No matter what.
Reading those books aloud to them allowed me to be witness to them realizing the ferocity of Josh and my love as well as make sure that they will extend that love to others in the world.
And I hope that they will always remember how deeply these books made them feel and chase that across pages of future books for the rest of their life.