The Greatest Gift I Ever Received


My mother gave me a magnificent gift. It wasn’t a tangible present. It was a hereditary gift.

No, not my rack, though that has been an awesome gift and I thank her for it frequently.

My mother passed down a love of reading to me. It wasn’t taught. I know this because she tried to cultivate it in my brother for years and years, to no avail. He simply could not be bothered.

I could though. I sat for hours, solving mysteries with Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. I explored with Mary Lennox, Harriet Welsch, and Laura Ingalls. I played with Alcott’s Eight Cousins and cried with her Little Women. I preened in front of my mirror with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.

I read.

People assume because I enjoy reading, I must be extraordinarily intelligent. I’m not. My brother is whip smart, savvy and informed, even without devoting too many hours to the page. I simply have a wonderful imagination and whether that is a product of frolicking in Narnia or the cause of it, I cannot tell. I simply know books have always captivated me. I read everything, from Kundera to McNaught, and enjoy it equally.

Maybe it’s the escapism of it. I can’t say for sure, but I do know that in passing on this love, my mother gave me an secondary gift as well. I am seldom bored. If I have a book, magazine or newspaper, I am engaged. And when I don’t have anything to read? Here’s where it becomes interesting…

I write. I create worlds. Someday, perhaps a reader will enjoy living in those places for a time. I can dream.

Thank you, Mom. Thanks for the gift of reading, the delightful worlds it has introduced. Westeros, Pern, England and China all wait for me between those covers. A magical Underworld in Chicago, policed by werewolves and good wizards who sometimes do bad things for the right reasons. A steamy street in Budapest, where a magician learns his trade. New York, in 2055, where a dedicated policewoman solves bizarre murders with her billionaire husband.

I am a citizen of them all. A native of the library. A bookstore tourist.

What are you reading?

5 responses »

  1. Truly a wonderful gift and what a thoughtful “Thank You” to your mom! My life has also been made so much richer and entertaining through my love of books and I am grateful for that love every day.

  2. Hey! You may be my long lost inter dimensional sister! I am also 40, read incessantly (and always have thanks to my mom) , have a younger brother who did Not take to reading yet is definitely whip-smarter than I am and infinitely more successful in Life, and when not reading (while I eat, cook dinner, walk the dog– even when I’m on the computer there’s usually a book handy for those long loading wait times) am imagining stories of my own. My teenage son and I regularly have silly conversations kinda like the outline you posted of the inappropriate-ish one with your 18 yr old. Aaaand. . .. my mother named me Jennifer. She swears she knew of no others with that insanely popular name but there were eight Jenny’s in my kindergarten class.

      • Only mildly obsessed with Dr Who — despite being a scifi dork, the Whovian world was not on my radar until I started stalk- er, following the Bloggess a couple of years ago (Bless that Jenny, many new worlds have opened up to me thanks to her blog!). Catching up on episodes now. 😉

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