I just finished a book. It was Jeannette Walls’ <em>Half Broke Horses</em> and I devoured it over the span of a week, reading only when my kids were asleep and I wasn’t doing the domestic engineering (a fancy term for cleaning and laundry), which I also try to conduct when they are blissfully unaware and enjoying their afternoon naps.
Reading for my own personal enjoyment is one of the things I miss most since becoming a mom and raising a toddler and an infant. Back in the day, I would have read that book over the course of a weekend, reading whenever I felt like it and for as long as I wanted. Those days, at least for the time being, are gone.
I feel a twinge of jealousy when I hear my girlfriends talk about their book clubs and compare films to the books they’re adapted from (movies are another pastime that has dropped off dramatically with the arrival of children). They talk about the <em>Twilight</em> series and express disappointment that the final book is already out and consider what they will do without Harry Potter? Thankfully, it appears the <em>Hunger Games</em> series will keep them preoccupied in the short term.
I, on the other hand, have been enjoying another author: Sandra Boynton. The passion with which she penned, Moo, Baa, La La La was palpable, and who could forget My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs? I can’t get enough—I’m gobbling up every new title I come across, and I’ve memorized most of them, much to the delight of my 2 year old. Happy Hippo, Angry Duck? Life-affirming. The same can be said for Pajama Time, Snuggle Puppy and the epic, But Not the Hippopotamus. Pure literary gold.
I’m only half-heartedly sarcastic about this. Truly, I’ve been tempted more than once to present these as my book selections for the book club I never have time to attend—to lament a bit about my lack of literary acumen these days and what is or should be on the New York Times Best Seller list. But, Sarah Boynton has, through her silly short ditties, given me something far more profound than those heavy-hitting best sellers. She’s given me JOY: I see it in my child’s face as we look at the funny pictures and I hear it in his voice when he, too, recites part of the story back to me.
One of my resolutions this year is to read more books for my own enjoyment. I’m going to make time to get back to books and rediscover the pleasure of a well-developed plot. But I’m also going to remember that I get a lot more from reading to my kids than just what’s written on the pages.