14 January 2010

Short Stories

Some days I would love to climb into a comfy cozy bed with fluffy pillows and plush comforters. . . with a mug of hot cocoa and a rich chocolate brownie. And of course, a good book. Today was one of those days. But with two young boys and a house to keep, the chances of spending any time cuddled in bed that is not between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m. are slim to none. And forget reading. Unless it’s a book for ages three to five.

One of my most vivid memories of my mother is of her sitting on an old tree stump with her wide-brimmed hat, “watching” my brother and sister and I swim in the pond, while reading a book. For as long as I can remember, my mother has been a consummate reader. She read constantly (except when she was washing the clothes with a wringer washer and hanging them out on the line to dry, or milking the goats, or collecting the eggs, or weeding the gardens, or canning/freezing the produce, or baking fifteen loaves of bread at a time, or chasing after three children and goodness knows how many dogs, or preparing three home made from scratch meals a day, or any of the seemingly endless number of tasks she undertook day after day, week after week and year after year.) Yet, when she did have a free moment, she would read. I love her for that. I have such wonderful childhood associations with books—I loved books, I hoarded books, I read them constantly and kept them close by always. I still do (except for the reading them constantly part.) Now that I am a mother, I wonder how it is my mother managed to find the time to read. Heck. I wonder how she managed to keep her sanity!

So tonight I made my mother’s brownies. The boys are in bed, asleep. I think Boy has fallen asleep with them. So, perhaps while I have a few moments left before absolute bed time, I will steal away to my somewhat comfy cozy bed and sip some cocoa and eat that brownie while I read a short story from Barbara Kingsolver’s High Tide in Tucson.

Short stories are an exhausted mom’s best friend. They let me believe there is hope I will one day read in earnest as I did as a child. Some day all too soon.

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