The first story I ever read by myself was The Little Red Hen. I have no memory of it, but I do remember the book of Hans Christian Andersen stories I received that Christmas from a family friend. More than the book, I remember sitting at their kitchen table and reading an entire story out loud, with a rotating crew of adults staying to listen to me. It felt as though it took hours, that I expect it didn’t. Someone there had a samoyed–to this day I still have a slight association of large white dogs with The Little Mermaid.

I don’t remember much of the story, or of the party, or the kitchen table. I remember my feet swinging as I sat in the chair, and always having someone listening to me. Mostly I remember the pride, that completely unabashed childish pride over being able to read, and not just a little picture book, but something long and complicated.

Kids have it easy. They haven’t internalized all the complicated social rules about showing pride, rules with endless variations. They just announce that they know how to read and will prove it by reading an entire story in the middle of a Christmas party. They’re awesome that way.

I’ve some good news coming. I think I’ll be ready to share within a few days. For now, I’ll be at the table, swinging my feet.