My mom loves to read. She always starts her day reading through the entire newspaper. She always has a stack of books by her bed and burns through about three or four a week. If there is any book of any genre lying around, my mom will pick it up and read it. I don’t think there has ever been a book she has started that she hasn't finished. She is indeed a bookaholic.
She told me once that when we were really little, she had to ban herself from reading. She gets so into books that she forgets to feed and care for small children. I can relate. There has been more than a few times when I’ve gotten so into a book that I glance at the clock and realize it is time for dinner, and I never even fed my kids lunch. Yikes! My kids are old enough now that they don’t let that happen.
I’m sure she’d rather I didn’t share this, but there was one time when I was in high school that I called her up for a ride home from school. I decided to start walking to meet her and ended up walking all the way home (over two miles). I went into our house to find my mom laying on the floor in the living room reading. Of course she was so apologetic, and I know she felt really bad about forgetting me. She had planned to sit down for just a minute to finish a chapter and got carried away. In her defense, this only happened once. But I understand her need to avoid reading when we were really young. Clearly my mom has a problem. She just really, really, really loves to read.
She never pushed reading on us kids. She was always willing to read to us or listen to us read, but she never forced anything on us. And honestly I don’t remember reading much with her as a child although I’m sure that I did. I’ve blogged before how I wasn’t in to reading as a child, but I think my mother’s example of always reading something was a huge influence on me.
And she loved to talk about books. Every book I read for high school English class, she had either already read or would pick up my school copy and finish reading it before I did. And I remember several times discussing those books with her. She was incredibly insightful, pointing out things that weren’t discussed in class. She not only read a lot, but she read critically and thoughtfully.
I don’t think she did this on purpose, but there were a few activities she did with us kids that really inspired my love for storytelling.
Libraries and parks. My mom took us to libraries a lot. When I was little, there was this one library next to a park, and after we'd go to that library, we’d take our library books to the park and sit on a blanket and read them. Of course we’d play on the playground a little too, but what I remember most was reading books on a blanket under a tree in that park. We loved it.
Popcorn parties. This one didn’t have to do with reading, but storytelling. During the summer, every once in a while, we would have a popcorn party. We would bake cookies, pop popcorn, and make Lemonade. Then we would go sit out in lawn chairs after dark and tell each other stories while we ate our treats. Sometimes we would play the game where one person starts a story and we would go around in the circle all taking turns telling the next part of the story. We had so much fun. It was one of my best childhood memories.
I really loved having a bookaholic for a mom, except maybe for that one time when I had to walk all the way home from high school, but hey, that was good exercise. She was a great example. Her love of books was palpable and showed me how important reading and stories really are, and I don’t think I would be an aspiring writer if my mother hadn’t shared her love for books with me.
Thanks Mom for everything. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.