Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Books, Books, Books

When my kids were very little, the excitement leading up to unwrapping Christmas presents grew with each passing day. My then husband was every bit as much a child as the kids. He liked to count the number of packages with his name on them. He liked to rattle and shake and try to figure out what was in each present that I had wrapped to look like something from a Hallmark commercial. I admit it drove me crazy. In my family of origin Christmases there was a no touching rule. There was also a nothing gets opened before Christmas rule which I tried to hold on to but was out-voted 3-1. Trying to contain all the real surprises for Christmas morning, I usually allowed one present, to be picked out by me, to be opened on Christmas Eve - cute flannel pajamas that would look good in photos the next morning.

One year I made the mistake of letting the kids pick out the gift they wanted to open. I think Johnson must have just grabbed the first thing that he saw and been happy with it. Weneki carefully chose a small package. Hoping, I'm sure, that the adage about good things coming in small packages would be true. She ripped the paper off a gift from Mamaw, who, to put it kindly, no longer had any idea what made small children giggle and grin. Weneki unwrapped a book, which ordinarily wouldn't have been a super bad present. However, for a child in kindergarten, a chapter book with lots of words and no pictures didn't quite ring a bell on the excitement meter. Weneki's face fell, then she started crying about opening something else. Her father was appalled at the fact that she was so ungratefuland I was appalled that he didn't understand her disappointment. Words were exchanged and the whole evening turned into a Christmas Eve nightmare with everyone going to bed mad about something.

I thought about that Christmas when I looked at the stack of books I received as gifts this year - most of them from Weneki, a girl who has grown to love books way more than that early experience might have foretold. I'm sure as a child I would not have been as thrilled as I was this Christmas to see so many different boxes arrive from Amazon. And each one was a surprise because they were selections from my Wishlist which is full of titles I don't even remember adding to the list. And to add even more reading delight I was also gifted books by my niece, and blog sisters Dani and Po.

In the mix there is:
  • a self-help book - The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent by Esther and Jerry Hicks
  • a book of poetry - Thirst by Mary Oliver
  • a self-published book of words and photos - Twelve by Pam Stead Jone
  • a novel/mystery - The Outlander by Gil Adamson
  • a memoir - Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, and
  • a daily dose of wonder titled, the Awe-manac by Jill Badonsky

As slow as I read I've got enough to keep me entertained for months. Sweetie likes to get his books from the library. He has a running list of books he's either picking up or returning. In between those days he has a shelf full of mysteries neatly filed in order. I admit it is awe-inspiring. My books, however, are in a wobbly tower sitting precariously close to the edge of my night stand, leaving just enough room for the alarm clock and phone. One wrong move by a certain Boy Cat and they will all come tumbling down. I love that books are last thing I see before going to sleep and the first thing I see when I wake up. There's just something magical about them.

Tonight I'm grateful for books ... hardback, paperback, ebooks, Nooks, Kindles, Ipads, library books, books with pictures, scary books, books that make you laugh and books that make you think. And I'm grateful that my daughter wasn't scarred by that less than stellar holiday.

Wishing for you a comfy chair to sit in, a cup of tea and a good book to read.
Merry ME


Fire Byrd said...

Oh yes reading, one of the simplest and most profound things any of us can do. Where I am there used to be a trail of books, in my bedroom, sitting room, car, briefcase.... and now they are all huddled together in my kindle oh bliss. And I even have a big enough purse to carry it around.

Molly said...

I love reading too! And someone emailed me a photo of a Christmas tree fashioned from books...which I may try next year.

I love your stories!