This is why I am behind on my writing deadlines. It is important to learn how to write by reading as much as you can. What is on your to-read pile?
For as long as I could remember I always had at least one book on the go. Family stories explain that I began to read at the age of two years old. I would read my younger sister story books off of memory.
When I began to get an allowance I would beg my parents to go to the local bookstore, Dog-Eared Books. I would drain my money to the last dime. I ate books. When my mom got ill I relied on books even more. Judy Blume and Francine Pascal books were friends. Instead of running around the playground I would be sitting off to the side deep into a book. When we ate out as a family I would bring a book to read.
When my mom died, I flew through books. It was my escape from a dark and confusing reality. When I went to junior high I loved that there was reading time after every lunch break. The school and public library staff knew me by first name. They would recommend books frequently.
Becoming an adult meant that I had less time to read, but I still always had at least one or five on my night stand to be dived into late at night. When I commuted into Vancouver it was perfect reading time.
Years later I became pregnant with our first child. Immediately we began to read to our child. My husband would read to my belly every night. When she was born it broke my husband out of his not-reading comfort zone reading to her daily. We lived near a huge book store. it was my motivation to get out the door to walk my baby in the stroller. We did the same habits of reading when baby number two arrived.
I have passed on my love of reading to both my daughters now. Bookstore mommy dates happen a lot. We rarely leave without one book for all of us. Some favorites are now getting worn. I think seeing a dog-eared book is a compliment to the author. It is a sign of love.
One thing that changed when motherhood arrived is that ‘my space’ shrank. My bookshelves shrunk. I used to keep all my books. Sadly I could only keep the favorites. The kids took over the family bookshelf.
I dove into the world of e-reading with a vengeance. I could read on my smartphone while holding a sleeping baby. Or when the e-readers came to town I slipped one into the diaper bag. You could hold loads of books into the slim devices. I found i read even more on them. I always upgrade when they come out with the latest version. My kids were big car nappers. If I tried to get them out of the car they would wake. So I would slide into a drive through to grab a coffee and park. Sipping a hot coffee while reading was my quiet time.
We used to watch a lot of movies before kids. That has changed. But reading is something we can enjoy together. Our first baby now reads to her sister and us. I can share some of the books on my e-reader with my girls now. I will be so proud if a reading addiction is what they inherit from me.
“He ran off to play with his new friends.” I close the book smiling at my daughters who are snuggled on either side of me. “Can we go play mommy?” my four-year-old inquires. I nod yes as they scamper off. We are at our local bookstore’s kids’ corner for a weekly date.
I began reading at an early age and love reading to my girls. My husband and I read to them when I was pregnant. I have written children’s books for them. Our shelves at home are bursting with books.
The weekly bookstore dates are a delight for the three of us. By mid-week if we have not gone my older daughter asks for it. Depending on the weather, we walk or drive to the store. As soon as we arrive we get snacks at the coffee shop next door and make our way through the store to the kids section. In the meantime, my eyes scan the shelves eager for the next read for me. While they are playing I get to scan the computer and make a list of what to look for when I get a moment to myself.
Spying on my two coloring or playing at the dollhouse, I realize it is not just about the gift of reading which benefits them their whole life, it is also the gift of time together. In a few short months my older child will be in full-day kindergarten. Our dear time together will be far and few between. Knowing I may have helped her with her reading skills makes me proud.
My youngest comes with another book to give me. In her other hand is her current favorite book, which she sits down beside me and opens. In her silent way of communicating, she gave me a book to read while she looks at the picture book.
I flip through the book she gave me and my heart swells. My wish is to carry on our reading time together. I love it when my four-year-old reads to me. Time is marching on and she will be reading silently on her own. I look forward to always looking at a book and remember our special times here. A part of my heart hopes she will remember too.