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From Mother to Daughter: Passing Reading Memories Forward

by Courtney DeFeo

From Mother to Daughter: Passing Reading Memories Forward

I shook my husband out of a nap. I was crying so hard that he thought someone must have died. I told him that no, I was crying over something a little less tragic.

My parents were moving. They would be retiring and selling my childhood home. It was great news from them, they deserved to retire, but I was clearly a little attached to the home.

In the months that followed, I stopped crying and started the great cleanout. My siblings and I split up the furniture and gave mom the “okay” to dump some old, but not sentimental treasures.

As we passed the bookshelf in the basement, it was interesting to see which books we fought over. I jumped for Mary Poppins and Charlotte’s Web immediately. Two of my favorite stories ever told. My brother jumped on the Narnia series. And my sis snagged some books for her boys.

Charlotte's Web

I grabbed a few more books that just seemed familiar, like old friends. I didn’t recognize the titles, but something about the illustrations triggered some memories from deep within. I tossed them in the box without even opening them.

A Child's Garden of Verses

Fast forward a few more months, I finally opened one of those books with my daughter. As I began to read, the smell of the books and the words of the poem truly made me teary. I could remember my mom reading it to me. I could remember each and every line after all these years.


And now, this is our favorite poem to recite together. My girls are now sweetly connected to pieces of my childhood.

I am so grateful my mom didn’t toss all the books. She had her yearly purging moments, like we all do. More importantly, I’m so grateful she read to us. Not just for the words and the education, but also for the memories we created. It sent me a message that my mom wanted to lay next to me and just be, that she wasn’t in a rush, that I was her priority.

I hope these pages make it another generation for my future grandkids. If not, I hope my girls will pass along their own favorite books. I hope they share their love of reading. I hope they snuggle their kids tight like I do, like my mom did.

Passing memories forward, sharing the traditions and tales from generations past — it’s what makes a family unique.

What memories, traditions, or books do you hope to pass forward to your children?