Monday, August 8, 2011

In the digital day and age...I still love a good, paperback book...even if I have to read it with glasses.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my iPad. It allows me to do so much from anywhere I'm at. It saves my sanity on trips to the store or in the car, when I can't take the "Are you almost done yet?" or "Are we there yet?" anymore. I love downloading books to it for it's slim storage and functional convnience.

But I realized last night, as I finished reading an amazing book called "The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan, that I love a good, paperback book. They have a certain smell, a certain feel, that provides perhaps some memories of growing up. Settling into a bubble bath with book in hand to read chapter upon chapter, imagining the characters and their homes, the stories coming to life in my head. I don't just read books, I seem to really feel them and see them, like a movie playing over the course of a few nights.

I was a bookworm my whole life, up until about 2005. My mom died that year, I had a baby, and well, free time for reading went out the window. In fact, the only books I read were books on caring for babies, or books for babies. And honestly - that wasn't bad. Nothing beats the look on your little one's face when you're changing your voice for the characters in the book, and they are taking in not just the story, but the time you are relishing upon them. What I did read was anything and everything else I could get my hands on that wouldn't take up immense amounts of time - such as magazines, mailers, etc. Lame, but reading all the same.

By the time I was back to having any spare time to read books, about 2008, I found that I couldn't read them anymore. Don't laugh - I could read the words and such, but I mean I couldn't focus. I would find I read a whole chapter and didn't remember a single thing I read. My mind was going a thousand miles a minute, focusing on everything else but the story in front of me. The grocery list, what I would do when I woke up, what work needed to be done, if the baby's diaper was changed. Quite honestly, it made me stress a little bit, because I thought perhaps my love of reading had dissapated along with the formerly single, childless me. I wanted to sit there and get through a book and know what I had read, and after trying different types of books thinking perhaps I just wasn't into the material, I found that it didn't matter what the material was - I simply couldn't focus intently on any lengthy, written material.

As a side note, I was also severely dissapointed again that year when I realized I couldn't play softball anymore. I loved playing on a co-ed league, but I just couldn't catch the ball anymore and wasn't a great hitter. Sigh. I figured I was getting old!

Fast forward to October 2010. After days months years of loving pestering by my husband, I finally caved and went to the eye doctor. I figured I was paying for eye insurance, so I might as well use it, right? Plus, I knew I didn't need glasses. Please. I had perfect sight. I was bionic woman, as a matter of fact. So I'd go and prove him wrong. My headaches were from staring at a computer, so maybe they could tell me how to fix that - and that's why I went.

After two hours of eye tests and charts and "this or this, this or this, one or two, a or b," I was at the front desk of the office...ordering my new, necessary glasses. I was SHOCKED when I had my eyes pressed behind what I like to call the owl mask and she was flipping back and forth and asking this or that - sometimes, with a "this" or a "that," I could actually READ what was on the board. Without it - nada. It was all a big blur. I hadn't realized that my eyes had slowly been causing blurred vision, until I saw what I COULD be seeing clearly with glasses.

When the glasses came in, they took some time to adjust to. My son cried when I walked in the door with them, because I didn't look like mommy. (Side note: Now he cries if I take them off, because I don't look like mommy without them, lol). They made my nose break out where they touched the skin. But within a week I noticed two things: I could see, and I did not have one headache even after staring at a computer all day. It was amazing.

With that knowledge in hand, I thought I might try to read a book. Who knows, I thought, maybe I can get back to some of my old habits. When I picked up that first book, I read and read and read for a couple hours - and afterwards, I remembered every part of the story thus far! It was such an amazing feeling. I hadn't lost my love of reading - I just had vision problems, which weren't letting me truly focus on what I was doing. The vision problem was causing me to do anything else but read because my eyes were too strained, and once that problem was lifted, I was able to start flying through books again - and play softball. The reason I wasn't catching balls was only partly because I'm 15 years older than the last time I played on a school team ;) The other part was my depth perception was off, causing me to be scared of the ball. Once that was corrected with my glasses, bam - I was able to play again ;)

And now, as I sit here looking at the next book on my list - a book by Nora Roberts - I can smile knowing that I am back to doing something I love. And while I could have downloaded that book on my iPad and propped it up to read in bed, I will be basking in the feel of the pages between my fingers as I read that old book that has been sitting on my shelf for years, just waiting for me to get those glasses.

Happy reading all!

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