I’m reading a wonderful book that I can’t put down. (The Help, by Kathryn Stockett) It’s been a while since I’ve gone completely under and given my entire being to a book. And trust me – back to school week isn’t a great time to do that, but how was I to know it’d be that good?
I have a memory of my mom doing laundry while listening to a book on tape. She was so engrossed in the book that she either didn’t hear or chose to ignore my pestering. Having to stop the book for me clearly annoyed her. I don’t recall having hurt feelings because of this. Instead, she taught me the love of reading, which is one of my very favorite pastimes.
So when I make my kids eat popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches for three days in a row just so I can read my book, it’s not neglectful parenting. Rather, it’s showing them how enjoyable a good book can be. And when I absentmindedly answer “In the garage” to the questions “Mom, where’s the gasoline? And do we have matches?” * I’m leading by example; displaying how literature can be as necessary to our being as the air we breathe.
I only wish I could read my book while sitting at work. But, I wouldn’t get much actual work done that way, would I?
*I know what you’re thinking. I shouldn’t keep the gasoline in the garage, right? Been meaning to tell The Husband to move it out to the shed.
Last night after football practice, Hollywood called me.
“Mom? Um… The jeep is making a clicking noise when I try to start it. It won’t start.”
“Oh yeah?” I said, “Did you leave your lights on this morning?”
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
It’d been raining when she left for school, so she had her lights on. Guess she didn’t realize you have to turn them off or the battery will die. She apparently got loads of ribbing from the boys on the team, but they were nice enough to give her a jump start. Later that night, she told me she needed gas. I’ve shown her how to pump gas before, but she didn’t want to do it on her own, so I went along to show her again. I explained how to run the credit card machine. I told her to unscrew the gas cap. (Had to tell my straight-A student all about ‘righty tighty; lefty loosy, though.) Then I told her to lift up the silver lever on the pump cradle. The station we were at is very old, and lifting that lever turns on the pump and makes a very loud noise. She thought that sound meant that the gas would start pouring out of the nozzle (even though she hadn’t pulled in the trigger yet) and so she let out a piercing scream and scrambled to the gas tank.
I looked at her and explained that gas wasn’t coming out until she squeezed the trigger on the nozzle. She grinned sheepishly. Maybe it’s a good thing that we’re working out these driving kinks right now, when she’s only allowed to drive the 1.2 miles to the school and back. Hopefully by November when she gets her license, she'll have it all down pat.