Thursday, March 1, 2007
Too Good to Put Down
When I was in 7th grade, a very sweet and serious - not to mention extremely introverted - friend came to my birthday party. She spent the entirety of the party seated on a stool, completely immersed in a book she had brought from home. To my well-read but not-so-bookish family, this was an oddity, and worth discussing for years to come. Without a doubt, it would be the first thing my mother would bring up if this girl's name were mentioned today.
Flash forward 23 years and here is a photo of my son, so desperate to finish Harriet the Spy that he chooses to read the ending rather than talk to the girls he invited over to play after school. He's been talking about this play date for days, very excited. He came bursting through the door after school with more energy than an untrained puppy, ready to play. But when they sat down for snack, he couldn't quite help himself: he ran to get the book. I suggested that he might wait until after the play date, but the sisters - who are unerringly charming in addition to being hilariously funny - quickly said it was just fine while they finished their snack. They proceeded to say that they are listening to the same book on tape during their carpool rides (brilliant idea!) and then went on to chat with me about the books they are writing at home, just for fun.
All of this helped me to realize that it's okay. It's okay to want to read so desperately that you spend a few minutes finishing a story in front of your friends. That is, it's okay if your friends are similarly social, extroverted bookworms who totally get it. The kids went on to have a rollicking good time for the next two hours, building enormous forts out of blankets in the boys' bedroom and using their rich imaginations to create a story for themselves. I guess that's the difference - he is able to leave the book behind and use his love of stories as a springboard for a great play time.