Last April I lost my sweet mom. I use that expression, but really, I dislike it greatly. I didn’t “lose” her. It’s not like she went missing, she died. And just because she died doesn’t mean that I “lost” pieces of her. I see her every day, in some way, even though it’s not in physical form. Every day something will happen, or I’ll see something, or something will cross my mind, and I’m transported back to a time when I did that very thing with my mom, or maybe it’s something I would have called to tell her about, but most often, I’m doing something that she proudly taught me how to do.
I’ve been thinking about items for this series for a few days, but reading a friend’s blog yesterday gave me the extra push to get it going. I met this friend my freshmen year of high school, when I foolishly thought that being in the marching band would be fun (long practices in 100 degree heat in the summertime… NOT FUN… Additionally, we wore something called “Cat Suits”. THOSE ARE NEVER FUN.) She keeps a blog about what her life is like now that she has a son. I appreciate her honest words, and I find myself chuckling at a lot of the stories. But yesterday’s blog post was one that didn’t make me chuckle, it made me cry. But not in a bad way. You can read her entry here: http://ukcavill.blogspot.com/2012/01/magic-of-words.html
She wrote to her son about the importance of books and what they’ve meant to her her whole life. She also said that long after she’s gone from this world, if he reads some of her favorites, he will find her between the pages. I thought that was such a beautiful statement, and so true.
I’ve been working on a 101 in 1001 list for a little while now (I will link to this at the top of the blog, eventually!), and since I’ve been working on that, I haven’t made additional goals for each new year. This year, however, I decided I was going to work on about a dozen other goals in addition to my 101 list. At the top of that list was to read again. I wouldn’t say that I ever stopped reading, but in the last 10 years or so, I’ve significantly gotten away from it.
Growing up, my mom read to me before I could even speak. I had shelves and shelves of books growing up–heck, we had a whole room in our house that we called “The Library” because it was wall to wall bookshelves! Books were a huge love of my mom’s and something that she passed down to me as well. When we would take achievement tests in school I always tested above and beyond my classmates, and when we had school reading requirements for at-home reading, I always far-exceeded them. I loved to read! I can remember many a snow day from school when my mom and I would each sit in a recliner in our family room and read our own chapter books. We would “race” to see who would finish their chapter first (I usually won–funny, kids chapters are usually smaller than grown-up chapters!). As I got older and we had Accelerated Reader (AR) requirements, I always blew the requirements out of the water. We usually had to read roughly 2 books a quarter… and I would read those two in less than a week. I had so many AR points that probably the whole class could have borrowed mine to meet their requirement!
I also started collecting my own books as I got older. I would always get some new ones for Christmas and birthdays, but once I had my own apartment in college, I was hitting up as many used book sales as possible! $3 for 30+ books? Yes please! I envisioned having my own home one day where I, too, would fill the walls with bookshelves and have my own library! Despite owning gobs and gobs of books, I was not reading them with the vigor I once was… college and my social life took up a lot of my time, and my books got pushed aside. I still kept a lengthy “to-be-read” list, with high hopes that one day I’d put a dent in it. A college friend keeps a book blog of the MANY books she reads, and I get a lot of my TBR list from her book reviews (you can find her online at http://heatherlo.wordpress.com/ )
I didn’t realize it until after reading that blog yesterday, but I think I want to return to reading as a way to keep my mom close to my heart. Just like Kim told her son he would find her between the pages of her favorite books, I imagine that I, too, will find my mom among the pages of the books I read. Like I said, I didn’t “lose” her when she died, I find little pieces of her all over the place, and while those little pieces will never fill the gaping hole in my heart, they do work to stitch up the hole, slowly, a little bit at a time.