Instead, I gave them something far finer: I slipped books into their tiny hands. It was their legacy. My love of reading was given to them during those early, formative years, and thankfully, grew within them into their adulthoods.
Books were always around. Swaddled in a blanket, each infant was propped up against my lap as I sat in a rocker, watching and listening as I read my favorite children’s books. As they grew into toddlers, they curled against me and pretended to read, babbling away and patting the pages as I read.
We visited libraries and bookstores as much as possible as they grew older. Instead of buying dessert after a meal at a favorite restaurant, we walked to a bookstore and bought a book. For years, a box of books at Christmastime was one of their favorite gifts. I don’t know who had more fun: me collecting the classics, adventure stories, fantasies and nature books, or my children reading them. I used to find them huddled under blankets late at night, the light from flashlights outlining their silhouettes.