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.