Tonight I loaded the Weekids into the car at 8PM to take Allison to our used book store. She had run out of books and it was "an emergency!" In her defense, she has been doing extra Weekid watching and I had agreed to compensate her in used books. But the hour of our book run was a prime example of the coddling I was referring to in my last post. That girl knows my weaknesses too well. I doubt I would have made it through my truly horrible middle school experience without books. And even now, I have been known to prowl the house like a jittery addict when I run out of things to read. I can't fall asleep without at least one chapter to ease the transition from real life to dreams.
So simply because her quirks mirror my own, I caved. And withstood squinty looks from the staff while attempting to keep Ben and Clara from completely trashing the small children's section thirty minutes before closing. So she could select a few borderline appropriate young adult novels.
Oh, and for the record, Publishers...if a book has sex in it, it should NOT be labeled YA. I don't care if the sex is between teenagers. That just makes it more inappropriate for my impressionable girl to read. Please move these books to the adult section. Or maybe create a new section called "Books with teenager characters that have sex and/or do drugs and curse like sailors." But I digress.
Later this evening, as I was sitting on the sofa with my husband watching Survivor no less, it dawned on me that in 2008 there are still many people for whom this experience would have been inconceivable. And by "experience" I don't mean wrestling a two-year-old out of a lovely display case of handmade quilts at the bookstore. (Oh yes, she crawled in and made herself at home!) I mean going to a bookstore. I mean reading a book.
I don't think I had ever thought about this before.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't love books. Being read to by my mother is ingrained in my earliest memories. It's one of the few things I was passionate about passing on to my own children. Realizing that there are still many children in undeveloped countries who will live their lives without ever reading, or being read to, is just another reminder that I will never really be able to comprehend how blessed I am.
So today I am thankful for books. For the people who taught me to read them. For growing up loving them. For passing that love on to at least one of my children (The jury's still out on the other three.) And for living in a society where I have access to more books than I could ever read, for free.
And, if I may make a plug, for organizations like Compassion International who are changing communities one child at time. So that hopefully, one day, no child will grow up without food, or medicine, or books, or hope.