Passing Down the Reading Gene


One of my earliest memories is of my mother reading to me each night before I fell asleep.  My pile of “Little Golden Books” was a large one, and my mom must have read every one a hundred times in those early years.  I remember her soothing voice growing hoarse each night before I finally drifted off to sleep.  My mother set a good example for me, because she, herself, loved to read.  I can remember her in the kitchen, stirring a pot on the stove, with a book in one hand.  She loved to read about the Civil War era, as well as the books she bought from the “Book of the Month Club.”  

Once I was in school and learned to read, an entire new world opened for me with the school library.  How I loved searching the shelves for “just the right book.”  I loved biographies, devoured anything written by Louisa May Alcott, and read each and every book in the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  To this day, my personal library contains my original LITTLE WOMEN book, with its crackly cover and musty pages.

When my three children were born, I expected that they would inherit my love of books and reading, but I was sadly mistaken.  No matter how many tempting books I bought them, or how many times I snuggled them in my lap and read to them, none of them were interested in reading.  How could this possibly be???  How could a mother who loved books so deeply be unable to instill the joy of reading in her children.  However, through the years I learned that you cannot force your children to love something you love.  They make their own choices, and reading was not a choice my children made.  

Happily for me, though, my grandchildren seem to have been born with the reading gene.  From their earliest years, my older grandchildren enjoyed snuggling in my lap and reading.  At naptime, I always read three books to Emma before she would snuggle down on her pillow and go to sleep. Books have been an important part of their growing up years.  Now, my two little grandbabies are following in their cousins’ footsteps.  They each have their favorite books, and often fight over which book I will read to them.  The “Llama, Llama” books seem to appeal to both of them, and last night I ended up sending the ITSY BITSY SPIDER book home with them, because they both loved it so and did not want to leave without it.

Those of us who love to read find it difficult to understand how anyone can choose to not read, and I’m sure non-readers cannot fathom our deep love for books.  My children look at my library nook and the shelves throughout the house which are filled, and shake their heads.  They don’t understand why I need to be surrounded by books.  I look at my grandchildren and wonder if they, too, will always cherish the books they love to read as much as I do.

Savoring The Small Pleasures


I look at this photo and am immediately transported back to a lovely October day when we drove to Kingston, NY, with my daughter’s family and my in-laws.  We took our twin grandbabies on a scenic autumn train ride, and then had dinner at a beautiful riverside restaurant in Kingston.  The day was lovely, dinner in the autumn twilight was delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  

So many of the cherished moments in my life have been these simple pleasures.  There are people who find their happiness only in the major pleasures — expensive vacations, dream homes, impressive cars — and that is fine for them.  I am content to savor the everyday joys that come my way.  While some people are waiting anxiously for the next vacation or cruise, I am enjoying the small, everyday gifts of life — lunch with a good friend, the rays of sunlight as they fall across the green leaves of the plants on my chairside table, a day spent with my precious grandchildren (especially if it includes lunch at our local Panera), the sweet faces of my grandbabies as I hold them close in my arms at naptime.  

I am so excited to greet the new decade of the 2020’s, and to wake to a new day in the early morning darkness of January, to watch snow falling gently, to listen to the chirping birds at the feeder in the morning, and to see the deer arrive at dusk for their cracked corn.  And yet, I also look forward to spring, when there is a softness to the air and tiny green shoots begin to push their way through what is left of the snow.

I love driving through the countryside, gazing at old barns and beautiful pastures, pausing to visit an antiques shop and coming home with a small treasure.  I love spending time with friends, talking and laughing, or helping each other through difficult times.  Family gatherings are special treats, as I have watched our children grow up and have babies of their own.  I savor my quiet time each night after my husband has turned off the TV and gone to bed, leaving me to read and write in my journal in the deep silence of midnight.

There is nothing wrong with being a person who finds joy mostly in the larger moments of life, but I do believe I am blessed to find my happiness in these everyday pleasures that bring consistent bits of joy so frequently each day.