This is my dad…
And this is me…
Yesterday was his birthday, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to him. I could write a big blog about how my dad is one of my favorite people in the world, about how he’s wise and loving, about how we have the same quirky sense of humor and the same smile, and how we once drove cross-country, six days total, and didn’t argue even once because we have this great simpatico, but that would be mushy, and I try not to spill my mush all over the interwebs.
But I don’t think it’s too mushy to say my dad is a brilliant man, though I don’t think he knows how brilliant he is. He is wise, and godly, and he has amazing insights into the way people think and work. He’s one of my best friends. And he loves to read.
I can’t say my father has the sole responsibility for my love of reading, because my mother is a reader too, and she took me to the library every week during my childhood. But he definitely had a large role in my reading development. Our livingroom has always had full bookshelves in it, and I remember watching my dad read as a child, his eyes sliding silently across the pages, and wishing I could read in my head like an adult too.
He used to read to us at night- wonderful, large books with tiny print that I never could have read by myself. Adventures like Heidi and The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, which, for a little Midwestern girl like me who had never traveled farther than the Mississippi River, opened up whole new words for my young, sponge-like mind. Whenever I read Heidi, I still hear his voice.
He used to tell stories, too. Some nights before bedtime he would gather my little brother and me together on one of our beds and tell us the most fantastic stories out of his head- stories of wild horses and wind that could talk to you and far-away lands.
But the biggest thing he did was talk to us. My dad was never afraid to use words we didn’t know or talk about concepts we couldn’t understand, and we were always welcome to ask questions. And he always answered. Sometimes I wouldn’t understand the response for years, but I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without them.
So daddy, Happy Birthday! One of the best compliments I know how to give you is that you gave me the gift of the love of reading, the freedom to explore my world, and the joy of knowing what it feels like to be unconditionally loved along the journey.
What about you? Who fostered your love of reading? Did you have a parent or teacher who encouraged your literacy, and opened the world up to you?