So I’ve started reading again. I was a latecomer to the whole reading game, I never understood my sister’s fascination. She would be absolutely dead to the world, blocked all of us out while she was completely lost in a book. Truthfully she probably just wanted an excuse to ignore her annoying little sister, but I never took the hint. It wasn’t until I was homesick, missing my friends away in university, that I picked up my first book that I wasn’t being forced to read, when I finally got it. I loved it.
Aside from the textbooks I was probably supposed to be studying, I would read anything I could get my hands on. More often than not, I would just rely on Stacey to finish a book so that I could steal it after. I lived for the long 7 hour train ride to visit my boyfriend at the time, and cursed any chatty passengers I was stuck sitting beside. When I was a flight attendant, I would rush through my service so that I could hide behind my little curtain in the galley and get lost in my own world. While other flight crew were off on their adventures at the end of the day, I would sneak away in my hotel room and read. Please don’t think that I was ever reading anything deep and sophisticated, a lot of these books were pretty embarrassing.
I always imagined that this was something I would do forever. Little did I know that this would all come to an end after my pregnancy with my oldest child almost 11 years ago. Although I had envisioned curling up with my babies and reading to them like everyone in the world recommended, it rarely happened.
Ofeibea loved our “reading” time at night, but I soon discovered it was best to sneakily jump about 10 pages ahead of every story, just to get her to go to sleep. Things became much worse when Maeve was born. I think people think that I am exaggerating when I say that I’ve rarely slept through the night in the last 10.5 years, but I can definitely say this has honestly been the case since Maeve’s birth 7.5 years ago. Reading is the last thing I have had time for. Unfortunately I have turned to mindless trash TV, podcasts, audiobooks, and worst of all – social media. Audiobooks are a nice escape, but any reader knows it is not the same thing.
Life has become even more complicated, as Maeve has decided to be my literal roommate. She has managed to sneak her way into my bed, and booted her dad out of the room a few months ago. Normally I would probably righteously judge any other parent that allows this to happen, but as all parents quickly learn, it’s all about survival. Maeve doesn’t sleep through the night, and when she does wake up at 2:00, 3:00 or 4:00 it’s much easier to manage when I am already laying next to her. Otherwise it’s: Everyone wake up! Maeve has decided it’s party time! We are desperate for this phase to end, and are planning on working on it over the winter break.
In the meantime we have introduced a new routine and I could not be happier. An hour before bed, all four of us climb onto our bed with…. A BOOK! This has never happened. It is probably my husband and Ofeibea’s least favourite time of the day, but I live for seeing Maeve’s skinny little fingers flip through the pages and really focus on what she is looking at. It’s really adorable to observe, and I can’t help but wonder what is going through her amazing mind. Once again, I know that her therapy has helped us get here, but school has definitely kicked this new hobby into overdrive. She used to scream and fuss for one of our phones or iPads at the end of the night, and now this gives all of us a chance to calm down without any interruptions.
I understand that I’m not some genius and reading with your children isn’t exactly some big breakthrough discovery, but I never really thought we would get here. Maeve hated when I would try to force this reading time on her. She would get upset and frustrated, probably feeling as though this was yet another demand I was placing on her in order to be like everyone else. This is just a reminder that like everything in her life, she gets to things at her own pace, if she feels like it.
It just makes my heart so happy to do this together. It has become my favourite part of the day. I am usually in a rush for the kids to get to sleep as soon as possible, but now I feel sort of bummed when the night is over. People probably take all these things that come so easily to them for granted. Who would have thought that I would be so excited that my child is finally willing to sit down for more than five minutes, just to do something as simple as look at a book!
I always get down about how our life with Maeve is so different from other families’ experiences, but I shouldn’t. I have just had to learn that we aren’t on a typical timeline or path, we just have to be patient with each other and realize if we are meant to do these things, they will happen eventually. While we slowly work on getting Maeve back into her own room, I’ll just be over here reading my latest novel, and loving every minute of my brief embarrassing escape from reality.
I am a stay-at-home mom in my 40s, still finding it hard to believe that this is my title in life. Mom of two young girls and married to a pilot (in other words… part time single parent). I am ‘Auntie Boom’ to Willowjak, and have the tattoo to prove it! My youngest was diagnosed with autism at 2, and finally a rare genetic disorder called DDX3X at 5. I’m almost always tired, and I feel as though my goal in life is to survive. I’m sure that I am not alone on this quest.