My mom got her degree as a reading specialist. So, it'd probably be an understatement to say that when I was growing up, books were a pretty important part of everyday life. There's no way I could have grown up NOT loving books, because I was surrounded by them all day, every day.
At one point, my mom actually owned a used book business, and she would take me to book sales and let me get as many five-cent Nancy Drew Notebooks as I could fit in my scrawny arms... and then some. (Side note: If you’ve never experienced a book sale, you’re missing out. We would wake up at about 4 a.m., go to a huge warehouse, and straight-up fight other lit-lovers over old library copies of rare books. Literally, imagine a fashion sample-sale scene, replace the Louboutins with books, and you’d have an accurate mental picture of a book sale.)
Anyway, if you're a fellow book-lover, you probably have a similar story. No, I don’t mean you fought some woman with a blonde updo over a rare children’s book… I mean that if you love to read, your parents are at least partially to thank for that. After all, chances are they're the first people who even told you what this beautiful and wonderful thing called a "book" was, and that's just one of the many ways they turned you into the lit-lover you are today.
They Taught You To Read In The First Place
Before you headed off to school to learn those pesky things called grammar and spelling, chances are the first people who taught you to read were your parents. And then once you set off for school and had endless amounts of homework chock full of difficult words, they were the ones who sat with you to sound out each syllable. Because of their patience, you have a long list of books you've read... and an even longer books of ones you want to read.
They Bought You Books For Gifts
Some kids got Red Ryder BB guns, you got books. Whatever the holiday, your parents knew that books were the perfect gift, and eventually you couldn't help but agree. Because giving the gift of a book is giving someone hours of wonder spent in another world, and who wouldn't want that?
They Forced You To Do Required Reading... Even The "Suggested" Books
The summer before 6th grade, my teacher sent every kid home with a list of required reading. There was only one book on the list that was actually mandatory for us to read — the rest were just suggested books that would be "good for us to read." I tried to explain this to my mom, but she insisted that I read every single book on the list. I complained endlessly — some of the books looked SO BORING — but she told me to give them a chance. Sure enough, some of the books I thought looked completely dull turned out to be some of my favorites.
They Took You To The Library
The No. 1 field trip in your family was... the Public Library. Your parents would drag you there, and whether or not you complained at first, eventually they couldn't get you to leave.
They Made You Save Up For Video Games, But They'd Buy You Any Book You Wanted
"You want that DVD? Save up for it. You want a Gameboy? Ask for it for your birthday. You want that book? Of course I will buy that for you." If you ever heard those words, your parents were not-so-subtly drilling the concept into your mind that books = a good purchase. Always.
They Carved Out An Allotted Time For Reading Every Day
Some kids had TVs in their rooms growing up; you had a bookshelf. Because if you're a book-lover, chances are your parents made sure you had plenty of time to read. Every. Single. Day. And it didn't matter whether you had already read at school, because according to your parents, you could never read enough. And these days, you finally understand that.
They Dressed You Up Like A Book Character
Did you really want to dress up like Elizabeth Bennet when you were 4 years old? The answer is... who cares? You looked adorable.
They Told You That You Couldn't Watch The Movie Until You Read The Book
This was literally a rule in my house growing up. My brothers and I were not allowed to go see a movie until we read the book, and now, I still have to read the novel before I see an adaptation.
Road Trips Were For Listening To Audiobooks
Some people's parents instilled in them a love for classic rock, or car trip games like the "license plate" game... Yours would turn on an audiobook the minute everyone buckled up. Even if you sometimes wished you could be listening to The Cheetah Girls CD on your walkman (this was the early 2000s, people), you eventually grew to appreciate the classic books your parents chose.
They Talked About Their Favorite Books
When you'd hear your parents talk on and on about their favorite books, you couldn't help but feel that reading was special. If they liked it so much, then you should too, right? Their passion for reading was so infectious that you caught the bug, and now you couldn't imagine it any other way.
They Were Patient When You Talked On And On About Your Current Read
Even though my mom has heard me complain about Jo and Laurie a million times (THEY SHOULD BE TOGETHER), she still listens patiently when I go off on a rant. She'd never judge me for being upset just because of something I read, and she always understands just how important the people in books are. Though she sometimes has to remind me that "they're not real people..." she's always patient. After all, she created this monster in the first place, right?
They Read To You
When you think of your childhood, one of your fondest memories is the times when you'd curl up on your parent's lap, and they'd read you your favorite story. Nothing sparked your love of reading more than hearing their voice reading the words on the page with such love, that you felt as if the story was written just for you. With parents that wonderful, it's no wonder you grew up to be the book-lover you are today.
Images: Tumblr/Damelola, Giphy (11), The CW (1)