Last weekend I stumbled upon this fabulous site http://www.goodreads.com which allows me and fellow bibliophiles to share book recommendations, give reviews, search for new titles, follow authors, and connect with those who share the same interests in a specific genre. Now I admit, my original intent was to list myself and my book on the site to gain some exposure and spread the word to a greater audience about my personal accomplishment. But after I joined and established my profile…I became a little addicted. Not to my own book, have you…but to others. In the myriad of genre lists, I found myself obsessively looking for every book I’ve ever read. And though I still haven’t found them all, I’ve had the lovely surprise of revisiting some old friends I had long forgotten.
I was always a voracious reader, but my activity did wane a bit when I returned to school to pursue a BA degree in English. Reading book upon book and textbook after textbook burnt me out – for a long time. Too long, I now realize.
My happy reunion with titles and authors brought a renewed peace to my otherwise crazy week. For in my rattled mommy mind, I was pleasantly shocked to realize how much I remembered from each book. It came back (and still does) with such clarity, I could essentially recall the plot and the time of my life in which it was read.
And here is where my mother comes in…
For while many of the books I’ve perused came from heady literature courses, there are just as many that came from my own childhood. Many of the selections were plucked from the old shelving unit propped in the corner of our living room, yet in plain view to whomever passed it by. As a caregiver to four children and wife to a farmer, my mother didn’t have much extra time. However, she did make time to read and read and then read some more. She shared books with my aunts and grandmother and bought books when the money was there. And in it all, she led my sister and me by her example.
Her love of reading originally lept to us as adolescent girls wishing to emulate their ever-beautiful mother. And yet as we grew older, it became something else altogether. She gave us the same love for books and appreciation for time spent with a good story. Her indirect actions inspired us directly. And for this burgeoning author, the impact was profound.
Of course, never could she truly have known how she was influencing our lives. For you see, back then there were no “experts” telling parents to sit with their child and read like they do now. Some parents did, but many more didn’t. And I for one feel so blessed that my mother was one that did. For my sister and I – both now mothers ourselves – often read for pleasure and to our children.
I don’t know how my son will view reading and books when he is finally a man, husband, and father. But I do hope he remembers, at some point, the joy he felt when his mother or father stopped time – and placed the focus solely on him – so we could share a story of what could be if he only believed in the unimaginable and reached for the impossible.
Thank you, Mom. I love you.