Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

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 Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

My Guilty Reading Pleasure

My Guilty Reading Pleasure
Reading somehow has become a guilty pleasure of mine--with particular emphasis on the "guilty" part.

From a young age, I devoured books like dessert. I did a lot of travelling in my career before children. I could read a book on the way to my destination and be half-way through another by the end of my return flight.

However, I likely stopped reading for pleasure about the time I became pregnant with my first child. Most of my reading during those nine months were to feed my obsession for information about my ballooning body, my baby, and the foreign-to-me topics of breastfeeding, cloth diapering, circumcision, and so on and so forth.

After birth, if I had a spare moment to read, I usually focused on nonfiction topics that were useful to me at the time such as baby sign language, various potty-training and sleep-training theories and child psychology books.

After our second child passed away, any quiet reading moments were spent trying to soothe my wounded heart and to make any kind of sense of our heartbreak. I read several books about child loss and bereavement in general, trying again after losing a baby, the Bible and encouraging devotionals.

I visit the library every two weeks with my kids and we bring home between 10 and 20 books each time. Up until a couple months ago, if I checked a book out for myself it would generally be a book about meal-planning or some other sort of family-related or self-improvement reading material {that I most often never finished}.

It has seemed to me that if I had a spare moment to spend reading that it should be spent reading to my children {which I do a lot of} or reading about things that could be useful to me or my family. But, due to this theory, I lost touch with that love of reading for pleasure.

A couple months ago, I was invited to join a new book club. I hesitated to join because of my recent reading history. But, there were a lot of fun women that I would love to spend at least one night a month alongside, so I agreed.

I attended the first meeting of the book club at the beginning of December. I shamelessly admitted to the roomful of ladies that I was only there for the party. I did not read the book. I did not open the book. I did not even buy the book.

As I listened to these other moms discuss their book {while I stuffed my face with yummy appetizers and a glass of vino}, I was amazed that they all had found time to read this entire fiction title within a matter of weeks. I was even more dumbfounded when every single one of them started rattling off other recent reads they had enjoyed.

It all sounded so much fun. I found myself feeling a bit jealous that I had been missing out on all this reading enjoyment that they had been having all along. Not one of them felt badly for the time they had spent reading. So why would I?

A week or two after that book club meeting, my family went on a hot holiday. I bought The Search Angel by Tish Cohen in the airport and downed it in a few sittings. It was such a luxurious feeling. {The fact that I read most of it on a beach likely contributed to the feeling of luxury.} Next, I borrowed one of my mother-in-law's beach reads, Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf, and finished it off in a day and a half. I had started on a third book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander on the flight home. That old love of reading came flooding back, and I am officially hooked again.

A few days ago, I hosted the next book club at my house. I was so proud to have finished the 600-page classic East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I enjoyed every minute of the time I spent reading it and discussing it.

The guilt tried to sneak back in on one of those cold afternoons we had this month. I had snuggled under a blanket with my book but stopped myself mid-paragraph. Maybe I should be doing something for the kids, I thought.

I walked into my son's room and found them like this.  ===>  Wrapped up with books of their own!

How can I feel guilty when I am so happy about these two having a love for reading? Shouldn't I be encouraging them through my own example? Perhaps when I read I am actually doing something good for my kids by affirming the importance of reading in our lives.

Do you, or when do you, make time to read? What are you reading? Any great suggestions for our next book club? How do you encourage literacy in your family? I would love to hear from you!

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