If there is one distinct memory of my childhood I cherish more than any other, it is the fact that I was fortunate enough that both my parents read aloud to me. My mother leaned towards the Little House On The Prairie and the miscellaneous schoolbooks my sister and I brought home from the school library.
My dad on the other hand, read the Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling up to The Half-Blood Prince (The Deathly Hallows was the one book I pre-ordered for midnight release and blew through in 28 hours trying to beat spoilers. I am pretty sure my dad has not ready Book 7 yet). He was invested in a series for the long run. I remember when he bought the seven-book box set of Narnia at Border’s back when Border’s was a thing.
Reading and being read to has played a notable role in my life. From roughly ages 5 through 10, being read to every night was the best part of my day. Last night, just before Midnight, I was still up and flipping channels in my dormitory’s lounge and came across the film adaptation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, at the point in the plot where Aslan the mighty lion appears.
Of course at five years old, I did not know that Aslan was a metaphor for Christ and the Clive Staples Lewis wrote a series of children’s stories that related to the Bible. But throughout my growing up, Lewis, Tolkien, and Rowling were my go-to writers for biography projects throughout my schooling. My sophomore year of high school, I took World Religions and did a presentation about the parallels between Christian Theology and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have gone back to the same books that shaped my childhood over and over again, each time getting deeper level of meaning out of the story.
Last night, I had a couple tears come to my eyes while I watched the movie and thought about the countless nights and countless chapters my dad read to my sister and I growing up. It is a great treasure that I can cherish memories of my parents reading to me in my childhood. I remember the injustice my five-year-old self felt when my dad said it was bedtime immediately after the chapter in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe where the White Witch cuts off Aslan’s mane and leaves him to die. It was one of the worst times I cried in my life and my sister and I protested bed time until we won over my dad and he read us the next chapter to ensure Aslan was really okay (to this day, I hate cliff-hangers before bed more or less because of that and will finish most things to go to bed later than I should, going to bed at three am Saturday morning just to finish Season 2 of House of Cards for example).
Somewhere, my dad has a drawing I did in early elementary school of the Dawn Treader (which happens to be a ship). It’s a horrible stick figure drawing that for the longest time hung above his desk at work. Since coming to college, reading outside of class has become almost non-existent, but I think this summer will be a good time to revisit some of my childhood classics. I reread the Harry Potter series last summer before coming to college and I was surprised how much you can forget between each time you turn the page. Memorial Day weekend is coming up soon and I hope to have the time and dedication to pick up a book and spend the whole day reading. And maybe if I said pretty please, my dad would read aloud to me again.
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