There are few things I love more than picking up a new book.
I have always been a “collector of books,” per se. I was the kid in school who would do my work as quickly as possible so that I could open up whatever I was reading at that moment. By sixth grade, I was knee-deep in Shakespeare and loving every minute of it. In high school and college, I was never without a book at my bedside. I love the feel of a book, the texture of the pages. I tried a Kindle once upon a time…I knew quickly it was a no go. I missed the smell of the paper. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I’m convinced there is a market for a candle that smells like book pages. There is just something so comforting about them…
I had rarely known a day without reading. I honestly couldn’t have imagined one. That is until I had kids. If you’ve been a parent for more than five minutes, you are aware that children consume your life, and many things that you used to indulge in suddenly go out the window. With my first, I didn’t have much time to read, but he was such a great baby and good sleeper that most nights, I was still able to curl up with a great book, even if it was only for ten minutes at a time. But when our second son came, the game changed entirely. He still, at two, enjoys giving us a run for our money when it comes to bedtime. Nightly routines can be exhausting, and by the time I can go to bed I usually do not want to engage in anything where my mind has to function (Instagram scrolling it is!)
In the last year, I believe I have fully finished maybe two books, and one was devoured while on a girl’s trip away from my children. In the chaos that is my mom brain, though, I have started to have these gentle nudges toward how badly I physically and mentally need the soothing of a good book. I have seen my oldest, who is developing the same love of reading as I have, bring me a book and beg to read it. I have a student in my classroom who almost daily wants to discuss with me the book she is reading at the moment. I am reading a specific book with my class that they are completely and utterly engrossed in. The looks on their faces and hearing “Aww but that was such a short chapter!” has reminded me how much I need to be lost in a book. I have realized that for me, reading is one of the best forms of self-care. It is something that calms me, encourages me, and makes my heart happy. Also, I am being reminded more and more that we lead our children by example. I want nothing more than to continue to poke at the embers of my son’s love of books, creating sparks that contribute to catching genres on fire for him as he grows.
So what to do? Recently I brought up the idea of having a monthly (or bi-monthly, or like once every six months: whatever we can manage) book club with some friends. It gives us a string of needed time with our busy schedules to slow down and also allows for an evening together discussing our book over a glass of wine (win-win). I have also followed many different book clubs on social media. I tend to throw one or two books that pique my interest in my Amazon cart while ordering the usual essentials. This way I have a book on hand to read anytime I get the urge or a handful of free moments.
The fact is, you have to make time for what you want, and more importantly, what you need. These important life elements are rarely handed to you. As I move toward the New Year, and thoughts of life improvements fill my head, one thing will be at the top of the list: take some time for me, and get lost in a great book.