In Covid-free Cairns, a working holiday last September, we read to four grandchildren in two locked-down big cities. Cairns library books. Picture it: one holds the iPad to project the book’s pages, the other reads, then we swap. 45 minutes is draining but filled with love.
Each grandchild differs. One, the oldest at four years, sets himself up and maintains attention, only sometimes losing focus. Another stares rapt but clearly twenty minutes might be enough. Another, the second youngest, is at first spellbound but then disappears. All of them entertain us, even as we read.
I try telling a few stories, of magic and traversing the globe, and heroism, but no, that’s too tenuous over an Internet connection.
Now, all these many months later, I look back and regret I didn’t try harder to connect and hold attention and impart magic and enrich. But those moments have vanished.