Why I'll Always Love Bedtime Stories
A funny and personal exploration into bedtime stories.
Some days I forget I'm not a child anymore. Some days I am full of nostalgia for everything 90's and 00's and I want to play Club Penguin and act seven again. Some days I crave the days where I had no responsibilities besides picking a bedtime story.
Some days I'm glad I'm not a child anymore. Some days I am so ready to tuck my future children into bed, tell them I love them and read them a bedtime story as they fall asleep.
But, on those days that I accept that I am now an adult and I dream of the future and picture a perfect family in my head, one scary thought comes to mind...
What if my children hate books?
What happens if I carry a child for nine months, go through all that pain and suffering to say "hey, look i made something from my body!", only for it to grow old enough to say "no mummy, I don't like reading!"?
What am I meant to do with it? What do I say to that? Is exchanging a child for a better one even legal? All joking aside, I'd honestly be heart-broken.
Reading was such a big part of my childhood, and even as I went into my teenage years bedtime stories turned into reading fan-fiction at midnight, and that's basically the same thing right?
I would love for my children to have the same experience I had while growing up, and I dream of the days where my children get excited for bedtime stories.
Now, I'm not sure how everybody else would define a bedtime story, but to me any book is a bedtime story if you're reading it in bed! So, one of my bedtime stories is Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief.
Although I didn't read it when I was young enough to still have my parents tuck me into bed, I was still young enough that Percy Jackson is one of the first books I remember as being a bedtime story.
I loved that first book from the very first time I read it, and even now as a woman who's in her twenties I am still reading new Rick Riordan books. I love his work and I love his characters even more. My entire Percy Jackson and The Olympians series is well-loved with cracked spines and unbelievably yellow pages. I've had them for a long time now, and they still sit proudly front and center on my bookshelf.
For the longest time now I have dreamed that if I ever get the luxury of having a daughter I want to call her Annabeth. It may be cheesy to some of you, but that is how much my love for my bedtime stories have shaped my life. I have dreams that when my children are born I can buy them their very own series of PJO and they can enjoy the stories as much as I will. I want to read to them, even if they're way too young to even read the words themselves. I want my children to know the joy of reading, to feel the joy of falling asleep with a whole other world pictured in your head.
These books gave me so much joy and they inspired me to be the writer I am today. Although I won't force my kids to be as writing mad as I am, it would be so wonderful for my children to find a book that inspires them as much as the Percy Jackson books did for me.
When I was in my teens I had a babysitting job for a family near me and I got the opportunity to read the cutest little boy bedtime stories. I let him pick the book and he picked a Spider-Man story. As I read it, the little guy began to fall asleep, and as he did I read out this line:
"With great power comes great responsibility."
I couldn't help but smile.
In one of the Percy Jackson books a character says a similar line that I used to love as a kid: "With great power...comes great need to take a nap."
In that moment I felt a strange sense of appreciation for bedtime stories. It didn't matter who you were or what book you decided to read before bed, because books had the power to make you fall asleep and I think that's pretty cool. (And books do NOT make you fall asleep because they're boring...do not give my future children ideas that books are boring!)
Bedtime stories, and Percy Jackson in particular, are bedtime stories that I hold particularly close to my heart. And, as I get older and start considering the fact I'll one day have children of my own to read bedtime stories to, I get increasingly excited about one thing...
The UK kids channel CBeebies has a "Bedtime Stories" show, where the bedtime stories get read by some very aesthetically pleasing celebrities. So, mums of the internet, you're welcome.
If you don't want to read a book to your child, maybe the dreamy Chris Evans or hunky Tom Ellis can read one instead, and you can just drool as your child falls asleep...
I can't wait for that day.
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You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @leighooper, if you want to thank me for hooking you up with bedtime stories read by hot celebrities, and if you want to read more about my love for Rick Riordan head here:
Thanks so much for reading, see you soon!