Monday, June 25, 2012

Stopped me midthought...

This summer my eldest, Matt, graduated to traveling sans the rest of the crew. He flew to my parents, and they have taken him and his cousin to the East Coast for a week.

Matt's been gone for almost two weeks, but he makes daily calls (I am thankful he still wants to talk to me). However, usually it's me who steers the conversation about what he's seen, done, and eaten (gastronomical fun for a few weeks). So I started to chatter.  He took a dramatic pause, ignored the question, and said quietly...

"Mom, I finished the book..." 

There are a few voice tones your children use that cause moms to stop. Not just silent, but everything that's usually buzzing around inside your mind comes to a screeching halt.

This was one of those times. I could tell The Running Dream had hit him deeply.

I love that he lets books make him laugh, cry, and angry. He invests in the characters and cares about what happens to them. Readers like him learn about others who live drastically different lives, have experiences he may never have, and overcome challenges I pray he will never face.  BUT characters are just like us...they love, they rage, they fear, they think.

He wanted to talk about Jessica. How she survived almost losing her life, physically adjusted to being in a wheelchair, worked to walk again with a prosthetic, and didn't fall into a valley of pity and self-loathing (my words there - think of a middle schooler's vocabulary). He was most impressed with her best friend, however. Fiona never, not once, leaves her for new friends. She sacrifices for Jessica with a smile. And then there was Rosa. The girl with CP that Jessica befriends and stands up for.

It sounded to me that he was most relating to the issues of acceptance, friendship, and being confident in yourself that face middle schoolers. Each of these characters were fine with being just were, flaws and all...and true friends not only stick up for each other, and push each other, but they are loyal and rejoice when their friends succeed. He's in that stage where friends like that are hard to find...but they will come.

We talked for 30 minutes...not about New York, but about how he's let the book affect him.

Yes, he took his first leap of independence flying solo to get to my parents, but I see these steps, where he is developing independence mentally.

Books can do that. 

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