What We Learn

London is getting pretty hot this week and I’ve been doing the traditional Nic thing of falling asleep and then waking up an hour later and then taking an hour to fall back to sleep. And repeat all bloody night…

On Sunday night I when woke up for the first time, The Moth Radio Hour was on and the theme was ‘the struggles, support and safety provided by family bonds’. Now it happens with it being July and godchildren 2 and 3 being ready to leave home we’ve all been involved in some end of an era thinking.

Obviously, Ma has given me a full measure of ‘struggle, support and safety’ and it’s entirety is too full to list here but as well as all of that Ma gave me books. It wasn’t just actual books although she did and I still have them but she taught me the value of reading. Like most kids I don’t remember the bedtime stories, I do remember that when we did the school library trip, I was the only kid that already had a library membership and was familiar with the children’s library at Fulham library.I was given books for Christmas and birthdays and they all had a message from Ma. This was huge for me as I also had Ma’s books from her mother (and others) which for me were a link to people that I would never meet and to Ma’s childhood. It’s one thing to know that your mum spent time convalescing in Broadstairs when she was a child, it’s another thing entirely to see the message that the grandmother that you never met wrote for your mum at the time. Also please note that in the same year when she was 9 and just 10 Ma was given Good Wives and Great Expectations!So actual books are one thing, my love of Jane Austen, the Chalet School and Georgette Heyer are all because they were things Ma liked to read. What she gave me was more than that. It was the love of reading, the permission to read and lose myself in a story and that it was ok to do that. All of that comes from Mum, who would often say “I was going to hoover/wash up/change the beds but I had a book” because who wouldn’t read instead of doing housework.I remember Ma removing lamps and lightbulbs from my room to stop me reading at night. And while I know that it was more than awkward to have a kid that had her nose in a book at very given opportunity, she never made me feel that reading and wanting to read was a problem. There were lots of other people in my life who did but in that I always felt Ma got it.

Of course she did, if she had a minute she’d be reading..

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About nicdempsey

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