I love to read, and have always loved to read.
My mother regales me with tales of being barely able to walk, yet meticulously organizing my books on my bookshelf, and being able to retrieve titles effortlessly by memory. (This, she says, is proof that I’m a natural born librarian.) And though I remain a prolific reader, I’ve had reading droughts, particularly when I became a mother.
My reading pace slowed to a crawl. I mean, who has time to read when you are caring for the needs, sensibilities, and nurturing environment of a defenseless precious child. I didn’t. I went from reading several books a week, to maybe completing a book a month. With each year I welcomed a new precious member to my family. (I have four, folks, and don’t plan on welcoming any more.) But this past year, my literary life experienced a windfall.
I recently completed my tenure on the 2017 Printz Award Committee. It was a lot of reading. A. Lot. I knew it would be challenging so I had to do something that I hadn’t before. I became organized. I started a family calendar, and bought myself a stylish planner with the cute gem stickers and bookish paper clips, and then I surprised myself by actually using it. I started planning times to read just as I planned daily activities for the children.
Taking care of little ones can be exhausting as much as it is a joy, and finding ways to practice self care can be challenging. I had blocked out books because I thought it was selfish, and I didn’t have the time. Feeling isolated and secluded, I hadn’t realized that serving on Printz would welcome me back to the world.
Now when I’m playing with my kids, or visiting the local zoo, or dancing like no one’s watching at the kiddie concert, I don’t have that pang that there’s nothing left for me. I know at the end of the long day, there’s a delicious print, ebook, or audiobook waiting right where I left off. And I, for one, am not sorry.