Sunday, May 11, 2014

If you read this, thank your mother!

Little House in the Big WoodsDear Mom,

I tried to think of a perfect gift for Mothers Day and decided that one of the greatest gifts you gave me was my love of reading. When I heard about the Barbara Bush Family Literacy Program, I realized that perhaps the best gift would be to pass it down. I hope it will bring joy to your day, knowing that the gift donated in your name will allow a young mother  to become a better reader and be able to share the gift with her children.

LIttle Golden Books and One Fish, Two Fish started my journey and I still think that Dr. Suess did it right. I remember bringing my book to your bed , sitting up against that padded headboard, and reading Little House on the Prairie while you read your Erle Stanley Gardner mysteries. You took me to the library constantly, always patient while I looked through the Black Stallion books and dreamed about visiting Misty on Chincoteague Island. You told the librarian, that, yes, this little girl really will read all of these books this week, so please let her check out more than allowed. There's a lesson right there! Ask and you might get the answer you seek!

Mom, you taught me that reading the instructions on the sewing pattern for the Barbie dress would likely help things turn out right. This led to pride in a job well done, not to mention several prom dresses and matching Hawaiian shirts for me and my high school boyfriend. As a young mother, I even earned money with a needle and thread, allowing me to stay home longer with Danny. 

With the power of reading, I tackled the words of crochet and knitting, and deciphered color coded charts for needlepoint. I used the nuances of language and word choice to develop my own color palette, no simple reds and blues for me, thank you! Instead a profusion of ochres and azures and  vermillions and sapphires! A lifelong fiber fascination and celebration resulted. 

I never learned to speak a foreign language well, just a little TexMex, but I learned to read several 'languages.' You showed me how to cook from a recipe and I dove into some crazy foods with complicated instructions. Throw in a little math and you can make twice as much or half as little.  I learned to read music and calculus, even accounting. And reading between the lines fueled my natural skepticism. No reading is too difficult, so legal documents, student rules, and OpEds only make me more knowledgeable. 

Reading is so powerful, Mom. I married a man who loves to read and we raised a son with a book in his hands. The joy continues. On this, your special day, please know that I love you and that all of my successes lead back to you. 
I can never repay the gift you gave me, but I hope to pass it on.

Your Loving Daughter,