Deb Rachel Will Start Her Own Tradition

2012 Debutante Rachel BertscheI don’t journal. I have no superstitions. I adhere to zero steadfast writing traditions.

I got nothin’.

After reading the first three posts of this week, I was curious about the word tradition versus the word routine, or habit, or superstition. They’re related, sure, but what makes a tradition different?

According to my computer dictionary, a tradition is a ritual that passes through the generations. It’s not just something you do regularly. It’s something you did as a kid that you hope your kids will do, too. And your kids’ kids.

After reading this definition, I got to thinking about what—in the realm of writing—I would want to pass along to my children. And suddenly I was transported to my childhood and specifically those nights spent sitting on my bed, listening to my mother read to me from The Secret Garden.

This is the edition of The Secret Garden I read with my mom. Don't ask me how I recall what the cover looked like, but as soon as I saw this pic, I remembered. Little kids are creepy smart.

What’s weird about this is that I don’t remember especially liking the story. It was probably too girly for me. (Keep in mind I was a big-time tomboy who was mistaken for an actual boy quite often because my mother forced me to cut my hair super short when  I was eight. Not that I hold a grudge, Mom.) I remember that The Secret Garden took weeks of readings to get through. The only reason I can even sort of recall the plotline is because we put the musical version on at camp when I was 12.

Despite not knowing the plot and, I think, not liking the story… I want to read Secret Garden with my daughter one day. Or son. If there’s any book-related tradition that gives me the major warm and fuzzies, it’s parent-child reading.

I sent the article about the father and daughter who read together every night for some 3,200 nights to every reader I knew. Now it’s a book (on my TBR list) and this excerpt is delightful. Reading together is a kind of bonding that doesn’t require sharing secrets or inside jokes or having anything to say at all. All you need is the two of you and the words on the page.

My mom read to me from The Secret Garden. One day I’ll do the same with my child. (Before we move on to Harry Potter which I most definitely plan to read with my wee ones. {Speaking of which, who saw Parenthood this week? The father-son Harry Potter thing totally made me cry. Obvs.}) And, maybe, daughter Bertsche will read it to my grandkids, and on and on and on.

It’ll be a Bertsche reading tradition.

Our very first one.

What book do you remember reading with your parents? What book did you love reading to your kids?


15 Replies to “Deb Rachel Will Start Her Own Tradition”

  1. I remember every Christmas my mom and I would read A Christmas Carol over the few weeks leading up to the holiday season and did I ever love that book. Dickens’ language is so incredible! I would love to start that tradition again with my girls as they get older (and less prone to nightmares–let’s be honest: it’s a scary read!)

    There is no question that my husband and I treasure reading to the girls–that before bedtime storytime is so precious to us.

  2. I remember being a very independent reader as a kid, so don’t have a lot of memories of being read to, but I’m sure my parents did early on, since they’re avid readers themselves.
    I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would read to them a TON, because books are awesome and what better way to bond than over a great story? Reading for the dog is okay, but not that satisfying when you realize she’d really rather you stop talking and just give her a piece of steak already.

  3. With me it was a set of Childcraft books, fifteen volumes that contained everything from nursery rhymes to science experiments. I have the whole set myself now — I read them to/with my children, and hope they’ll do the same with their own children one day. (If they have children. No pressure, kiddos. *grin*)

  4. I read my kids the Harry Potter books and took great delight in giving each character their own voice. Hermoine was a bit of a whiner. Harry’s voice was a bit feminine. Ron was cockney. Usually I would fall asleep while reading to them and they would kick me and say, “Wake up, keep reading!”

  5. My parents were always reading and I would beg them to read to me. Part of the reason I learned to read young is that they couldn’t read enough as far as I was concerned. Have you read Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden? Good gothic story with a Secret Garden connection.

  6. P.S. I just finished MWF SEEKING BFF. WOW! So. Very. Good! I loved tagging along on your friendship journey — felt like I was right there along with you. Thank you for an excellent read. 🙂

    Molly, you’re next — I’ll try to get it in the mail to you tomorrow. You’re in for a treat!

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