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April 20, 2010

From Mom with Love

Posted by Dana

FlowersWith this being a hugely transitional year for me, (my daughter is about to leave for college), and with Mother’s Day fast approaching I couldn’t help but reflect on the love of reading that my mother passed to me and of course I passed to my daughter.

My mom is the consummate learner. For as long as I can remember she was off to a class or a lecture. And still to this day, she is taking classes and pursuing learning. And I don’t just mean a pottery class one day and a macramé class the next, I mean she delves into a serious subject like ageing or a discipline like ballroom dancing and studies; takes classes, goes to lectures, travels to conferences, and of course reads.

So, being the goofball I am who mostly wants to escape with a good story, my mom and I generally don’t read the same things. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t her influence that got me reading in the first place. You see one of my mom’s big passions is health. Just as she gently nudged my hand away from the bag of chips and towards the granola, she also turned off the TV and shooed me into my room with a book.

Now, her plan for a healthy mind and body for her daughter didn’t entirely work as I do still love me some chips and a healthy dose of TV, but I also (as you probably know) love books. And though we often try to do the opposite of what our parents did, I often found myself shooing my daughter off to her room with a book.

Shades of GreyAnd it worked. My daughter loves books too. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that she spent many of her childhood hours roaming her mommy’s bookstore and even working behind the counter). Of course when she was small I read to her, but once I stopped reading to her, I started reading with her. Not always of course, but if she loved a book or series (like Harry Potter, for example) I would read it too. I loved being able to talk about the characters with her and being a part of a world she loved. This tradition has continued into her teen years, but now we recommend books to each other. The most recent book we shared was Jasper Fforde’s SHADES OF GREY. It's a great book, by the way and I have found myself referring back to it in other conversations with my daughter.

I expect over the next few years, my daughter won’t have too much time for extracurricular reading, but I hope in and between and when college is done we’ll continue to share our love of books. And I know just as my Mom gave the gift of reading to me, I was able to give it my daughter and she will take that with her wherever she goes.

And to my mom this Mother's Day; my heartfelt thanks.

-- Dana Barrett, Contributing Editor