Monday, December 5, 2011
For the Moms (and Dads) Out There
The day I signed with my agent was absolutely one of the best days of my life. You see, like many of you, I've loved books since I was a little girl. Some of my best childhood memories involve curling up with a book, long after I should have been asleep. I'm a writer, but the idea that someone can create a world out of nothing but words still awes me.
We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. Our house was falling down around us. Half of the shingles on the roof were gone, and when it rained, water poured down the walls. Not a trickle or a few drops. A stream of water running down our walls, making puddles on the floor. In winter, the thermostat was set at 55 because we couldn't pay the electric bill. I spent many days covered in blankets, sitting on the floor register, trying to get warm.
The one thing we did have, the one thing my mom made sure we had, were books. Lot's of them. Books from the library. Books of our own. Our falling-down-house was filled with books. Not only that, but from the time I was a baby, to the time I was reading Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. my mom read to us. She read to us at night before we went to bed. She read to us at lunch. My brother and I ate. She didn't so that she could read to us.
Not only that, she made up stories that we starred in. Many nights my brother and I fought with the rebellion against Darth Vader and the Emperor. Or we sailed the seas with Prince Caspian and the Dawn Treader.
My mother not only gave me life, she gave me dreams for my life. One of which came true last week. It was bittersweet because my mother, the reason I'm a reader and a writer, died three years ago and is not here to share this with me. And yet, in a way she is. If she hadn't shared her love of reading with me, I would never have written a book. I would never have signed with an agent.
This part of her is always with me. One of the last conversations I had with her was about a book we had both read--Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. She had loaned it to me, and I had just finished reading it. (Beautiful book by the way.) I have a closet-full of books we've read together. Books we talked about. Books we planned to share, but never got the chance. So you see, she is still here. In the dreams she gave me. In the love of books she planted deep in my heart when I was too young to see that she wasn't just sharing a story with me; she was sharing a dream.
This is what I hope to do for my children. This is what my mother did for me.