We go to the library on a weekly basis.  I checked out 47 children’s books the other day.  People throughout the library were staring at me as I attempted to exit the building while carrying my screaming 2 year old son in one arm (he never wants to leave), and 47 books (of all shapes and sizes) in the other.  Do these quiet observers think I am superhuman?  Probably…but that’s neither here nor there.

 My kids love to read.  Even the one that can’t read will sit and page through book after book after book studying every single page as if he’s prepping for a midterm exam or something.  I will bring these 47 books home, toss them on the living room floor, and walk away knowing that I have at least an hour before any one of them will come looking for me.  It’s like a mini vacation, sans beach and fruity cocktails.  Whatever will I do with all of this free time?  Go to the bathroom?  Perhaps take a bath?  Watch adult programming on TV?  Hide under the bed with my own good book?  The possibilities are endless… 

I wish I could take credit for my children’s love of reading, but I cannot.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading novels, but I rarely take the time to do it.  When I do, my literary choices are far from scholarly.  I recently read the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy.  All 3 books in a little over a week.  This is borderline embarrassing to admit, but we’re friends, right? 

My kids would get so excited when they saw me reading.  “Mom, is that a good book?  What’s it about?  Are you already on the second one?  What are those on the front cover Mom?”  “Ummmmm…they’re handcuffs (long uncomfortable pause…).  It’s about a police man that catches bad people and puts them in handcuffs.  Yeah, it’s okay.”  “Can we read it someday Mom?”  “Sure (i.e., Absolutely not…I am going to burn it.).  Oh, and don’t tell your teacher that I’m reading it either.”  “Why Mommy?”  “Just because.  I’ll give you a dollar, okay?”

As you might expect, this endless line of questioning and dishonesty only goes on for so long before I begin to develop deep parental guilt.  As a result, I am forced to begin sneaking around the house with my smut like I am on some perverted top secret mission.  This of course only makes me feel worse about myself.  Now I am not only the mom who is reading smut, but I am the mom who is trying to get away with reading smut…like I’m having an affair or something.  Can I please just have “a thing?”  Just this once?  Everyone has one.  Just let me have this one damn thing without feeling ashamed or guilty or embarrassed or remorseful.  More parental guilt quickly follows this line of thinking.  It never ends.  Yet sadly, it did…and I went through a very real withdrawal phase as a result.  “This CAN’T be the end.  He doesn’t seem freed yet.  He is still very clearly troubled.  There are countless avenues to explore yet.  There HAS to be more!” 

Alas…there is not.  Several sad and empty weeks follow…  



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