I posted something here a few weeks ago and then sort of disappeared again. I am going with this to explain my absence. If you have nothing to say, don’t blather about being pointless. It also closely follows my grandmother’s sage advice that if you have nothing good to say, keep your mouth shut. The last couple of weeks have been a bit of both. In the spirit of not polluting the airways with rubbish, It have kept my ramblings to myself and saved your ears, or eyes in this case, from being forced to deal with it. You can thank me later.
So why am I here, if my mood has been telling me to keep my tapping fingers out of everyone else’s pie?
Well, yesterday I saw my life come full circle in a way. My earliest and happiest memories revolve around reading. No surprise considering my chosen profession. Yet it is those formative memories of my grandmother reading to me that started me forward in this lifelong addiction to the written word. Another strong memory is of me and my dad reading together. Him in his chair and me laying on the floor while records, yes records, played on the stereo.
As I sat watching my grandson play, I got to experience my youth once again only in a reversal of roles. The little stinker after throwing more than anyone’s fair share of toys around, decided my lap would be the perfect place to rest up before starting up for round two. I had no problem with that, as you can well imagine. He paused along the way to snag the book his YaYa and I bought him. Climbing into my lap, he flipped the book open and began pointing. Cows go Mooooo. Elephants go Mooooo. One is pronounced Two. All dogs are called Molly. We went through the book from start to finish, and back a page or two to clarify things. He felt it important to let his PawPaw know dogs are not dogs but Mollys when I mistakenly called a picture of a puppy a doggy. Well, in his defense, PawPaws don’t know everything.
Sitting there glowing with the wonderment of holding the future of the world in my lap, I couldn’t help but wonder if this warmth wasn’t how my Nana felt reading to us as kids and later to her great-grandchildren. I know in this digitally dominated world reading seems old fashioned. Why read when all knowledge can be accessed via the History Channel or you can learn to do anything from watching a YouTube video? I mean when you get right down to it, reading is just so old-fashioned.
To that I say yes it is, and thank God for the small islands of old-fashioned left in this cybernetically enhanced world. I know this might sound hypocritical coming from an author who deals mainly in the digital press, but the world needs more old-fashioned ways of doing things. Besides, you can still read a digital book to a child. It’s not like I’m slapping a child in front of a screen and leaving them to work it out on their own. The best part of the process is doing it together.
Reading is a bonding tool as much as touching, the sound of a loving voice, or any number of things that creates a lifelong connection between a child and those who love them. I can still hear the faint echo of my Nana’s voice as she read to me. The warmth of her arms surrounding me, letting me know I was safe and nothing could ever harm me. Yesterday, I felt her arms around me for real. Holding my grandson, I knew she was there with us both. The love she gave me all those years ago, I now had the opportunity to pass along to another generation.
I’m not sure if everyone feels like this, but to me the act of reading is an expression of love. Because, when we read to a child, we share with that child the love we feel. We share the wonder of expanding our imaginations. We share the ultimate gift of knowledge that can be found inside books, and help them to find new worlds to both create and discover. Now, I’m embarking on the next stage of that journey. I thought being an author would be the fulfillment of the dreams of that younger me sitting in my Nana’s lap, but no. As I held my grandson, I saw his smile as he turned the pages of his new book. I saw my dreams had taken on a new role. Instead of seeing them through my eyes, I’m going to start seeing them through his. So, instead of acting my own age, I now have an excuse to act his.
The main thing I want to share with you is that reading is an expression of love. It truly is the love that keeps on giving. So next time you’re wondering how to spend some time with your kids, grandkids or nieces and nephews, spend it in a book. Who knows, you might not just be the hero you’re reading about, you might become a real hero in the eyes of a child who will one day become a hero too. See how it works? With one simple deed, you set in motion one of the greatest acts of love known to man, giving a child the imagination to change the way they see the world and just maybe change it along the way. That’s the way love works.
So until next week, happy reading!