Reading has been a life-long love of mine. As a child I curled up on my bed with Little Women or Nancy Drew or Illustrated Classics. Mom would try to get me to go outside by telling me, “Go out and blow some stink off.”

In my early thirties, I became a Big Sister to a nine-year Little Sister. We were part of a group of Bigs and Littles of both genders who went on monthly camping trips. I was thrilled when one of the little brothers observed through a question, “Why do you always have something to read?” I was thrilled someone so young, especially a boy, noticed.

My eagerness for reading has only been squelched once.

In December, 1989, I packed The Prince of Tides to take with me to the hospital. I would enjoy whatever time I had in the hospital reading this book that I had wanted to read for several years. I sold Real Estate at the time and was always hustling for my next sale. Whatever time I had in the hospital would allow me to finally start that book.

I never got past the first page of the book during four days in the hospital. Four days of gazing instead at my new born son. I read every portion of his body, every strand of hair, every finger or toe nail. This miracle took me away from my life’s greatest passion but gave me a beautiful substitute.

A new world of books entered my life. The local library presented all newborns with a copy of Goodnight, Moon. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Dr. Seuss soon replaced Pat Conroy.

It was two more years, after being waylaid by a sprained ankle that I was finally able to settle down with Conroy’s Prince.

Life continued intermingling Cam Jansen with Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone or Encyclopedia Brown with John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway.

I heard a lot of controversy about the Harry Potter books, but I would never prohibit my son from reading anything. So, we read them together. Every night at bedtime, I brushed off my character voices and regaled both of us with a marvelously magical world where neither of us found any fault. (Until we listened to one of the books on a car trip and I discovered that Jim Dale had “stolen” my Hagrid voice.)

The page turned twelve years ago when Son was eager for me to read one of his Magic: The Gathering books. Not one of my usual genres, but…

The most important thing that I have continued to read is my son. A taller than his dad, scarily smart young man whom I still stare at in wonder. He works part-time in a local grocery store. I continually hear from many what a witty, courteous, helpful, thoughtful and intelligent young man he is. Good words for any parent to hear. But this parent is still marveling at how he turned out so well.

Do you suppose it might have been all that book reading?