My mother has always been a reader. Some of the first memories I have are of her sitting in the living room rocking chair with a book in her lap and a bookmark on the side table. It seemed like every night there were a few minutes she was able to devote to the enterprise, and I was in awe. I would sometimes sit at her feet and she would read to me. I remember the sound of her voice then. It was strong and confident, yet full of wonder and excitement. I could tell that for her reading was something special, something to be honored and appreciated.
At night she would also read to us in her bedroom. I recall sitting cross-legged in the middle of her bed, with my sister next to me, enraptured by the stories she would weave. I remember an itsy bitsy spider who was fascinated with a water spout, a cat who always wore a stylish hat, and a bat who wanted desperately to be a bird. Every story, no matter how many times she read it to us, carried with it a sense of magic and wonder that I still feel now every time I read them to my own children.
So, from an early age we learned the value of reading, and the importance of finding time to not only read individually but to incorporate family reading time into the equation. It’s not easy either, with the crazy, hectic nature of life and all the other responsibilities we have to do, but I think it’s essential to find that time. Sometimes at night when I’m reading to my own children I’m reminded of being on the other side of things. When I see their bright little eyes, and I know their ears are taking in every single word, I smile.
When I talk to my sister on the phone these days one of the first things we talk about is whatever book we happen to be reading, what book we just finished, or what books are next on our lists. We are such different readers, too. My sister is really into a lot of non-fiction. She is huge on books that explain what’s going on in our world, and she has such an analytical mind that those are wonderful for her. My focus is on fiction where I thrive on understanding character motivation and plot twists. But we share such a love for simply “good” books that we often cross-read and compare our impressions.
My oldest daughter is completely into reading as well, tackling books that should be above her grade level, and doing it with ease. She shares her impressions with me, and we have phenomenal conversations about what she’s reading and what she’s going to read next. She listens to my suggestions, and I hear hers. In fact, she reads so much that I feel bad having to interrupt her for dinner or for school. It’s a reminder to me that there is indeed a circle of life.
And here I am in-between these two families, the one I was born into, and the one that I helped create, still reading every single day, and still sharing it all with both families that claim me as their own. It’s a testament to the glory of family reading time and its impact on everyone involved. I treasure those times always.