Do you remember when you learned to read?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot as we approach this Mother’s Day. I was with family recently, and we were all talking about what, if any, memories we each had of our first days of reading. Few of us had any memory of the actual learning process. My brother-in-law remembered a day when the teacher announced, “Today we’re going to learn to read.” He was thrilled! He thought for sure there was a magic solution-a secret he was finally worthy of learning, and that by the end of the day, he, too, would be a reader! But alas, it was a process; there was no quick answer. My sister could remember “playing school” with our older sisters and learning to read. Everyone seemed to have a memory of that first big chapter book, or the book that really opened up their eyes to the power of reading. It was clear from our discussion that, in our family, reading was very important.
The longer we discussed our memories of learning to read, the more I realized I look back on those years and see my mother as a sort of Superwoman.
Make Time for Reading
I’m the youngest of nine children, and needless to say, my mother was busy. Not only did she run the household and prepare every single meal from scratch, every single night for 11 people (even baking her own bread and sewing half our wardrobes), but there was also track practice, 4-H club, piano lessons, talent shows, and who knows what else. In addition to raising our family, she also had a full-time job, earned her master’s in math education, learned to fly a plane, ran a nonprofit organization, all while raising her nine kids. But at the time, she was just my mother, and my mother was busy.
I vividly remember one day, I was sitting on the floor in our living room playing with my toys–probably the spring before I started kindergarten–when my mother walked into the room and asked me to sit with her on the couch. She was holding what I deemed a worn-out and ancient-looking yellow and green book called Dick and Jane. She told me it was the book she had used to learn to read when she was a little girl, and I remember her saying, “I think you’re ready to read now, too.” I knew, even at the time, that this was an important moment. For my mother to stop everything she was doing to sit on the couch with me and make time for reading was a big deal–and it stuck. Reading is, and always has been, an incredibly important part of my life.
So as we approach this Mother’s Day, think about the time you spend with your child and the memories you’re creating for her. We’re all so busy. For so many of us, every moment of the day is already scheduled and planned weeks in advance. But if you can take 15 minutes a day, even just a few times a week, to spend with your child and show her that you value and recognize the importance of reading, you’ll be providing her with a gift that lasts a lifetime.
And who knows, she may even look back one day and call you Superwoman.
Happy Mother’s Day to every Superwoman out there!