I have a lot of books currently stacked on my nightstand. This is my personal library. My present reading list. All of these books have been purchased or given to me in the last year, with the exception of two that I dusted off from my book shelve downstairs. These are the books that I have recently read, am presently reading, reference often, or plan to read soon.
*Not shown is the e-book ("The Parent's Guide to Down Syndrome" by Jen Jacob and Mardra Siccora) and numerous library books that have also been part of this stack over the last several months.
Some of these books are for learning. Others for encouragement. Laughter. Knowing I'm not alone. Being challenged. And, still others are for pure enjoyment. To simply get lost in a thick plot with delightful twists and intriguing characters.
But what does this big stack of books say about me?
Well, first . . . a musing of recent events in my life . . . After much contemplation about what was best for my future and for our family, I left my job last December. This decision was not made lightly, and was years in the making (really, since I had my daughter, Madi). There were numerous reasons, but a big one was in preparation for baby number 3 (my sweet Augie), who happens to have Down Syndrome. Even before he entered this world and took his first breath, I fully embraced my role as his mom. And since his arrival in March, things that I had never before experienced (and frankly, knew nothing about) became part of my regular routine -- tube-feedings, oxygen support, apnea monitoring, surgeries, therapy appointments, ER trips, specialist visits, and more.
Bringing a new baby home is always a challenge, but add in some serious medical issues and it's a whole new level of challenging. I've spent more time in the hospital in the last few months than my entire life leading up to this point. All the while, I was navigating a different medical path with my daughter, Madi, after she was diagnosed with ADHD in April. And, of course, doing my best to be there for my 2-year old, Beckett. Because when asked to "sit down, momma, pway wit me", well....you do it.
As I scanned my big stack of books today, it hit me, these books are a reflection of my present life and mindset.
Several of my books are about Down Syndrome, written from authors who were once in my shoes as a new parent to a child with Down Syndrome. These stories warm my heart like nothing else! They give me hope when I am uncertain what the future will look like. They show me that I can do this. And, remind me that I am not alone. Here, I can find tangible advice for raising my son. I have loved reading about other families; their joys and struggles. With tears welling up in my eyes as I read their stories, hearing how hearts have been changed, and how stereotypes have been being shattered.
I am just getting into "Bloom" by Kelle Hampton and it's so captivating. Wow. On the first page I was intrigued by her raw emotion, her wit and her story-telling. By page 22, I realized through her pictures that she has rocked both dark and light hair colors (a woman of my own heart!). By page 28, when she talks about losing a baby just 2 months before getting pregnant with her daughter Nella, I saw the similarities between our stories, and decided I need to be friends with Kelle! Someway, somehow . . . Until then, I will continue to enjoy reading her story and can't wait to see how it unfolds.
The second "set" of books are those that challenge and nourish my mind and soul. Books like "For The Love" by Jen Hatmaker or "Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist. These are the ones that push me spiritually, emotionally and mentally. That push me to be a better mom. To be a better person. And, sometimes just make me laugh. As I've done some serious soul-searching in the last year, these have been my go-to books for inspiration.
And finally, my books that take me away from reality, even briefly, into a different world completely. A good novel. The ones that I can't put down. Like the James Grippando mysteries I recently brought home from the library. I love the thrill of his books. The twists and turns that keep you on your toes. I am equally looking forward to Jodi Picoult's "The Storyteller". For me, reading a good novel is a break to re-energize. Even if it is just 15-20 minutes, it is a rejuvenation of my mind.
If these books say anything about me, I hope it is that I am trying my best to be a good mom for my kids, to be a better person for this world, and to be a better me, period. I know that's not going to happen just from reading books, but it's a great place for inspiration.
Now . . . finding time to read . . . well, that's a whole other story!
What books are on YOUR night stand? Are they a reflection of YOU?