Day 22: Flat Brown Box

It is not uncommon for us to come home and find a flat brown box on our doorstep.  The girls know what is inside.  “Open it!  Open it!” they demand.

I am on the reviewers list for some publishing companies and I have a fast ‘buy with one click’ finger on Amazon… so we get a lot of books.

“Open it!  Open it!”

Before homework or dinner or any of our other responsibilities (sometimes before we even get our coats off), I open it.

Books.  New books.

We drop whatever is in our hands and on our minds.  We sink down onto the living room carpet.  We can’t even be bothered to move to the couch.

Katie likes to sit on my lap, her head leaning against my chest.  Maddie sits next to me – as close as she can get – and puts her head on my shoulder.  I inhale and exhale, taking in their scent and their presence.  (Katie always smells like fresh air, I don’t know why.  Maddie, like soap.)  And I read.

It feels like time has stopped for a few moments.   Rather quickly it ends and we are back to homework and dirty dishes and sibling arguments and the noise of our lives.

Oh, how I love those days when we come home to find a flat brown box on our doorstep.


I’m writing a Slice of Life Story every day for the month of March as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. See more at Two Writing Teachers.


28 thoughts on “Day 22: Flat Brown Box

  1. This slice speaks directly to my book-lovin’ heart! I know all too well the dangers of Amazon Prime and the lure of immediate book gratification. I love that you and your daughters drop everything and bliss out on books. I needed to read about this moment as an antidote to this morning’s events. Thank you.

  2. “Katie always smells like fresh air, I don’t know why. Maddie, like soap.” – Beautiful! Just incredible. Every detail you use is so purposeful and meaningful. Can you tell I’m OBSESSED with your writing??

  3. Me too, even alone, it is exciting! I have to get my mail in a locked box so when the granddaughters are with me, and there’s a key that means a box is waiting, what excitement! I can see your scene perfectly, Dana.

  4. I love seeing those flat brown boxes on our doorstep also. Your post, and your girls’ reactions remind me of my students when they see the Scholastic Books box when they’re delivered to my classroom. “Open it, open it!” is the common response here, too! There’s nothing like the joy of getting a new book and knowing what awaits for you from within. Thanks for sharing this today.

  5. Yes! Love those flat brown boxes! I sometimes have my Amazon purchases shipped to my school if it’s a book for my classroom, and now the office aides who deliver my packages have the same reaction as your kids: “Open it! Open it!”

  6. I work on a university campus, and our campus library system will send books directly to staff/faculty offices. My flat brown box is more like a mustard colored campus mail envelope! It’s a blessing to have access to such a large library system for free and without ever having to leave my office!

  7. The smell of glue and paper. The whisper of my fingers sliding across the paper. The excitement of knowing new friends and places are just a page away. The slow agony as the end approaches. The sadness of sliding it between other friends on my bookshelf. And then the moments of joy when I see the crowd waiting patiently for me to return.

  8. I could picture you with your girls sitting on the floor with your coats on taking in the scent of them as well as new books! Thanks for this lovely slice.

  9. I love the detail where you stop to smell the children (even better than roses) in your busy day.
    Nice small moment- how the box interrupts the routine in a lovely way.
    I have to add- my mother is 96 and I order used paperbacks of series I know she loves, so that she gets similar packages. I know she drops everything to open hers, too.

  10. Getting packages always makes the day better! I often get flat brown boxes too! It’s the very best! It’s so wonderful how you stop what you are doing and read together!

  11. How old are your kids? I think they are similar to mine? I would love some book recs! I feel like we’re in a rut and I never know what books to get for them.

  12. I saw the tagline for this when I posted this morning, and I couldn’t wait to get to read it tonight. I have no children, but I act the same way when that little brown box shows up – drop everything and open!

  13. Wow! I love that feeling. You know, you just ordered a great book and it finally arrived. I love the picture that you painted…I could imagine their anxiousness and bright smiles as they wait for the box to be opened. Cherish every moment!

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