Full disclosure: When I was setting my calendar for guest posts, I noticed this particular date. Not that I wanted to notice, because this date has come around a number of times I’d rather avoid counting. I almost skipped it entirely. But then, I thought, who better to post on this day than my own kid?
I should have known she was going to make me cry. Rotten kid.
Read and Return
Today just happens to be Annetta’s birthday. Shhhh, don’t tell her I’m the one who spilled the beans.
Of course, being her birthday made me think of gifts and gifts made me think of my favorite gifts I’ve ever received and that’s when I realized my Mom has given me everything. Absolutely everything.
When I was about ten years old, I remember Mom walking up to me and saying, “Follow me.” I asked where we were going, but I got no answer. She lead me up the stairs, all sixteen of them, into her bedroom and in front of her massively huge bookshelf without saying a single word. This bookshelf went from floor to ceiling and was as wide as half the wall. Every inch of the thing was covered in books. Double rows of hardcover books, stacks and stacks of paperbacks. To me, a mere girl at the time, it looked gargantuan and totally awesome. I remember thinking how lovely they smelled. The sun was shining in through the window and I saw little specks of dust floating on the air. But there was no dust on these books.
She looked at them for a moment, and then handed me a little yellow book called “The Faun and the Woodcutter’s Daughter” by B. L. Picard. Mom gave me instructions to read the book and return it to her when I was finished.
I followed her instructions, and I loved the book. It’s a collection of fairy tales that are unique and wonderful. When I was finished, I brought the book back to her and she said once again, “Follow me.” Upstairs we went, into her room, to the gigantic bookcase where she took the book from my hands and promptly placed another one in it. She gave me the same instructions–read and return.
I don’t remember how long that exchange went on before I started picking my own books, but since the day she handed me that first yellow book, I can not remember a single day where I’ve not been reading. That moment turned into a constant chain of books for me, one right after the other, and has continued for almost twenty years.
When I hear parents tell me they wish they could give their children everything, I tell them this story. You can give your children everything and so much more. The gift my mom gave me is endless, bottomless, boundless. There is no world I cannot explore, there is no character I cannot meet, there is no time period I cannot visit, there is no hope or dream or idea I can’t experience through the written word. She opened every door for me, and through that door is everything.
Do you want to give your children everything? Give your children books, people. Give them a love of reading. I can think of no better way to enrich their lives. And I know there is no other way to give them everything.
That day, which I still remember with such clearness, I was given a wonderful gift, a gift I hope to share with my son.
And I don’t even have to actually give him the book. My mom knew what she was doing.
Read and return.