Friday, August 22, 2008

Time to Read

I’ll never forget one day as a young girl walking into the living room, where my mother was stretched out upon the soft, light blue loveseat with a book. She looked up and told me that I should take the time to read as much as I possibly could while I was a child, because when I got older it would be hard to find the time to do so. I could not believe that could be true. After all, was she not herself reading a book right in front of me? Wasn’t there always time to do what one really wanted to do?

All through high school I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading the classics. Even during my undergraduate days I was able to pick up optional reading, in between my textbook assignments. It was not until graduate school, when I was juggling marriage, a research assistantship, and my arduous studies that I found reading novels to be an unattainable luxury.

So how does a busy mother of four find time to read? When asked this question earlier in the summer, I sadly answered that I had not picked up a book in a while. There are always “dry spells” during which I either cannot find the time to read, am too tired to read when I finally have time to put up my feet at the end of the day, or simply cannot find a good book to read. Then a group of factors come together that cause me to start reading again.

Sickness, bad weather, a car in the shop, and boredom (how many women will ever admit to being bored – it seems to be a declaration that one herself is actually boring, although it doesn’t logically follow) are all good motivators for reading. An almost-empty calendar certainly is necessary for one to be able to pick up a novel and read it through from start to finish. If one is getting ready to go somewhere or preparing the house for company, there is a never-ending list of things to do and the kids need constant picking-up after (or nagging to clean up after themselves).

For me, with our trip to Tennessee behind us and all our summer company come and gone, I can feel free to let the house “go” just a bit, ensconce myself upon a comfortable piece of furniture, let the kids wander over house and yard, and become entranced with another time and place.

Painting by Frederick Carl Frieseke, 1874-1939. “Reading by Lamp Light.”

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