The Sunday Salon-Mothers Who Read

Although I can’t recall my mother reading to me all that much, she encouraged what seemed to be my innate love of reading.  She always bought me books whenever I asked for them, and  I began asking at a very early age.   I was soon able to read for myself, and clearly recall toddling around the neighborhood toting books in a paper bag.  (I’m sure the other children found me very strange.)

As for me – well, I was a reading mother, and pehaps if you were to ask my son he would say I was something of a pest about it.  I was the type of mother who just might burn dinner because she was lost in a book, or forget to stop the bath water so the tub nearly overflowed.  I might hold up playing a game until I finished a chapter, or delay a ride to a friend’s house with a “quick” stop at the library. 

In truth, I was quite often like the young mother in this painting by Albert Ankers…snatching a few moments of reading time while my child lay heavily asleep in my arms. Like her, I would sit tensely in the chair, hardly daring to move for fear of disturbing these blessed moments of peace. I recall once propping a heavy book open on my son’s arm, until my husband pointed out with some horror that the spine was leaving a sizeable indentation in his chubby flesh. 

Thankfully, my son turned out to be not only a reader, but a writer, a lover of stories -those he invented himself and those spun by his favorite authors.  Having a mother who read might have helped foster that interest.  One never knows how children will be affected by their parent’s habits. 

No one disturbs my reading these days, except for two little white dogs who somtimes crawl into my lap and clamor for a bit of attention.  My son is grown up and lives far away, so I don’t see him too often.  But I know he spends a good bit of time reading, and that he still occasionally writes stories of his own, too.  That connection comforts me on this Mother’s Day, as I sit here in my house, reading and writing on my own.


11 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon-Mothers Who Read

  1. I was that kind of mom too! My son once wrote an essay about me that said my favorite thing to do was to be in the house by myself reading a book. I hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day!

  2. I feel moved by your story. Happy Mother’s Day to you. I can relate with your “quick stop to the library”. I always visit the bookstore whenever I’m in the vicinity of the mall. Though I don’t intend to buy, I quick scan on new arrivals feeds my heart.

  3. That is a lovely painting and brings back many happy memories.
    I was a reading mum and the habit has rubbed off on my two daughters , although not so much on my two sons.
    However senior son is picking up the habit from his wife who is a reader and I have just introduced the books of George Pelecanos to my ‘Wire’ loving junior son so you never know!
    I used to read while feeding my children – having a free hand to hold a book is one of the many advantages of breast over bottle!
    All four had a bedtime story from the age of about 18 months and that went on until they got to senior school at 11 although when I was reading one of the Harry Potter books to my younger two on holiday, the 14 and 16 year olds were there listening as well!

  4. I can’t believe I’ve never seen that lovely painting before. Thank you. The period of my interest is a much more book-oriented time (before TV!). It’s interesting how much different reading together feels compared to watching television together….

  5. What a wonderful legacy you have as a reading mother…a son who actually reads! I read to my son often when he was younger and did everything to encourage his reading. Now that he is 16 he doesn’t read much unless he has to but I know he will come back to reading someday!

  6. My life is so richly blessed by a mother who reads, and continues to read all my books faster than I can. (She’ll ask, “Have anything good?” and hurry through anything I’ve bought or received in double time.) I love this post of yours which honors our mothers, and in fact, the way that we resemble them. I taught my son to read, held him as he slept, just as you did. Mine doesn’t write, but he does love to read. His favorite novel at nineteen? Hugo’s Les Miserables. I consider that a job well done. By both of us and our mothers.

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