One of my favorite memories as a kid is reading a book with my Mom. The Westing Game was the name of it (and I actually tried reading it to the girls a few years ago but realized they were still a little young for it). I can clearly remember sitting on my parents bed, hearing her read it while simultaneously watching the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series.
Yes, I’m that old.
Yes, my Mom was (and still is!) amazing enough to mother 9 kids and still have time to read me a chapter book aloud.
And, yes, I learned to multitask from my Mom.
That memory is a gift to me that still makes me smile decades later. I wanted to pass it along to my girls and so we started our “book club” when we moved into the Lake house and they were old enough to sit still and be interested in longer books.
The girls and I read through the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and loved it. We also loved seeing the houses Laura lived in with my Mom and Dad last year. Talk about making memories…
We were able to laugh together when we read the titles to the first three chapters (The girls are still saying “Mrs Rachel Lynde is Properly Horrified” and giggling afterwards). We all laughed about Anne’s attempt to dye her hair. We were each guessing what would happen when Anne and Gilbert both were vying for the Medal and scholarship and cheered when then both got something.
And then we got to the chapter about [spoiler alert for those who haven’t read it…] Matthew dying.
Have you ever tried to read when you’ve got tears in your eyes? How about reading aloud when your voice is cracking and you’re getting choked up? That’s how I was last night.
The girls were patient with me at first. They were sad, too. But 15 minutes later, when I’m still trying to read and having to put the book down every other sentence, they were getting annoyed. Thirty minutes later, having finished the book and still crying, they were ready to hire another book reader.
I tried to explain to them how the book made me feel about getting older, becoming and adult and watching the ones you love very much getting older, too. Tried to talk about the importance of letting the people you love know it before it’s too late, just like Matthew did the night before he died. And taking time to be with the people you care about the most, like Anne did when she turned down the scholarship to stay at Green Gables.
I won’t ever forget The Westing Game and the gift of being in my Mom’s company and the love of books that was planted in my heart. I won’t forget Ma and Pa, Laura, Mary and the rest of the Ingalls family. Now that spirited Anne Shirley is firmly planted in my heart.
And I hope my girls remember her years from now, too, when they pick up a book to read with their children and pass the gift along once again.