Photo: popofatticus via Flickr Creative Commons
I love books. I love to be surrounded by them. I love to touch them. I love the crispness of thick glossy paper and the rugged feel of cloth binding. I love the shine of gold leafed editions. I love the musty smell of weathered well loved oldies. I love the strong scent of brand new copies. I love books. I spend energy researching them. I spend money buying them. I spend hours talking about them. I love to read them but wanna know what I love even more? Reading them to my daughter.
Today I started reading May B by Caroline Starr Rose (what a beautiful name!), a novel written in verse. It’s quite good and I made a note to share it with my daughter in a few years. For a split second, I panicked. What if I died before I could? What if I did not live long enough to read her this one nor the hundred others painstakingly noted on my lists? Would my husband take over and keep our tradition of family read aloud? I felt so sad at the mere thought of the possibility of missing out.
Of course I want to live a long life for many reasons. I want to live to see my daughter married and my grandchildren born. I want to live to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. I want to live to earn a black belt.
But without the shadow of a doubt I want to live to read to my daughter. Through stories, we laugh together, we cry together, we cheer together. Through stories, I can teach her that courage is not the absence of fear. That failure is not the opposite of success. Through stories she meets heroes and characters humanly flawed. Through stories she learns life’s most important lessons.
Rosie Revere taught her the value of perseverance and living your passion. Sam-I-am taught her the value of trying something before making up your mind. I’m sure he’s the inspiration behind her very own quote: “Try and you shall know”. Sarah Crewe taught her that you decide who you are regardless of circumstances. Prince Amor taught her that “there is no time for hatred, no time for anger, no time for fear.” Babe taught her about nincompoops. Charlotte taught her about true friends.
Books are my emissaries. Books are my allies. Each book I read to my daughter is a message I tuck inside her heart and soul for eternity.
I hope I am blessed with enough time. I hope we will have read enough books together. I hope I will have given her enough heroes worth rooting for. Heroes worth holding on to. Heroes who will walk the rest of her life alongside her. An army to keep her safe and help her long after I no longer can. When I am gone they will remain. She will be able to call upon them for strength, courage and fortitude.
She will never be alone for she will have books and the memory of us reading them together.