06 May 2008

A legacy

So, because I have neglected this blog for so long and because so much has changed and unchanged in a month, I feel like I should start out with a completely different post... But I am going to save that post for a different day, hopefully this week. (Lots and lots of homemaking goodies to post about)

Here is what is really on my mind today. I have a built-in shelf in our bedroom that is filled to the brim with books, color coordinated and arranged. They definitely look good, but they are also treasures of mine. Books I have read over and over, books that defined different life phases, books that have traveled with me, books that remind me of many different homes along the way.

I have been a reader, as long as I can remember. My dad reads all of the time and I take after him in this, although we tend to read very different books. His choices are western history, mostly non-fiction, and cleverly told real-life stories with a sense of humor. Of course there is some irreverent cowboy poetry thrown in for flavor. My choices novels, some award winning and others just mindless escapism. I grew up reading fantasy and fairy tales, stories of strong women and adventure tales.

Even though our tastes are so divergent, the commonality lies in the reasons we read. We both love books, the feel of a well-bound tome in your hands, the words that paint pictures of times and places that may or may not have existed. In high school, I struggled for a time with chronic insomnia, which my dad has dealt with as long as I have known him. We both read late into the night to pass the time and hopefully lull ourselves into sleep. I remember one night, during a big wind storm, the power went out at about 3am. Dad and I collided in the hall trying to get to the flashlights so we could finish our respective books.

I also have a hard time parting with books that I love and have held tightly to past firsts and favorites; The Lily of the Field (first truly grown-up book I read), The Butterfly and the Diving Bell (given to me by a stranger on a plane during my post-college trip to Europe, who encouraged me to pass along an already completed book in my bag to someone else), The Hero and the Crown (my favorite book since junior high, always reminding me of the hidden strengths and uniqueness in myself), Green Eggs and Ham (which I could recite before I could read). These books are like old friends that remember who you were before you were where you are now.

Today, I was going through that shelf to pull of a few children's books that I have carried with me for several years to put in the babies room. As I started to pull down the obvious choices, I kept pulling down more and more. Many of them completely inappropriate for a newborn child. Two or three copies of the complete works of Lewis Carroll, a vintage copy of Pollyanna, a complete set of Louisa May Alcott, a beautifully illustrated copy of Romeo and Juliet, a worn copy of Spilling Open by Sabrina Ward Harrison. All I could think was that I had to share all of these treasures with this little bean in my belly. I wanted her to visit all of the wonderful places that books had taken me and know all of the fascinating characters I had met along the way. The urgency to pass these on, to immerse her in them was overwhelming.

I am still not certain which books I will keep on my shelves and which I will move to hers, but I really hope that we read them together someday, that she steals these and others off my shelves to pass a rainy day and that we talk about them when she is older. That will be one of my legacies, a family heirloom of sorts.


Colleen said...

You are so ready to be a mom. I can't wait to see the little bean. Reading with Taylor now is so much fun.

Love You
Mama K

autumndaesy said...

I loved this post! I feel the same way about the mountain of books in my bedroom! I was just able to pass on some Boxcar Children stories to my own fledgling reader. She likes reading the same dog-eared copies Mommy used to read!