Posts Tagged ‘daughters’

Just came home from a Friday night outing to the bookstore. Does that sound pathetic? Probably not if you’re one of my friends, who is just as likely to spend free time at the bookstore as I am. To the rest of the world, perhaps, but I enjoyed it. I love shopping for books. Love bringing them home, all shiny and new and full of possibilities. It’s my one real vice, I suppose, if you don’t count chocolate. Book shopping. My mother laid the foundation when I was about seven or eight and didn’t have quite enough allowance for the book I wanted to buy, A Little Princess. She gave me the extra and told me that books are always worth spending money on. I never forgot that. I still have that copy of that book on the bookshelf in my hallway. And mum still loves the bookstore, too.

Tonight, I had a funny little communal experience with the other book shoppers. I was in the bargain books section, the best place, I think, to discover new authors. I end up buying an author’s whole backlist because I took a $5 or $6 chance on a book that turns out to be wonderful. Anyway, I was browsing there, along with a handful of other people, and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” came on the store’s stereo system. I defy you to listen to that song, whatever you think of Neil Diamond, and not be tempted to sing along. So there I am, quietly singing “Sweet Caroline”, when I realized that every other person in the section was doing the same. There we were, shopping for bargain books, un-self-consciously singing Neil Diamond in the middle of the bookstore. A couple of other people came through the section, also humming or singing. No one acknowledged anyone else, but you could see from the little half smiles that we’d all noticed. And then the song ended, and we all went back to shopping quietly, without comment. It reminded me of those flash mob videos you see on youtube, only with no mob and no plan, but just a bunch of people just shopping, then suddenly singing, then just shopping again.

It was great, and I came home with a big stack of new authors to try, thanks to a gift card I’ve been waiting to use. And so did my daughter, who browsed in the kid section and picked her own books while I chose mine. I’ve passed on that same lesson my mother taught me to her. As we were leaving, I said, “I love book shopping. Makes me happy,” and she said, “So do I.” That’s my girl.

Happy Friday!


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It’s Thanksgiving here today, north of the 49th parallel. We don’t have much of a Thanksgiving tradition in our family. My mum came to Canada from Scotland, and she never picked up up the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition. The only time we ever really observed it as a family was when I was away at university, because it was a good excuse for my mum to make a special meal for my friends and me to come home to. Since then, we’ve occasionally shared Thanksgiving with our best friends, which is always lovely, but it’s not unusual for the holiday to be a non-event for us, the way it is this year.

My parents and my in-laws are both away this weekend, and my husband left last night for a workshop in NYC, so it’s just me and Isabelle, and I couldn’t see doing the whole turkey thing for just the two of us, especially since she doesn’t really like turkey. But even without a Thanksgiving celebration, I can’t help but think about what I’m thankful for. It’s in the air, I guess.

The list is long and I won’t bore you with it all here. But the thing that’s really on my mind right now above all the rest is that I have a great kid. I’m really enjoying this age, but more than that, I’m enjoying Isabelle herself. Today, the two of us drove out about half an hour to wander in a local antiques mall. It’s not her favourite thing to do, but she went, without complaining, because I wanted to. From there, we went clothes shopping for awhile. She’s fun to shop with because she has a sense of humour about it, like being more than willing to try on the most god-awful pair of pants that wouldn’t have been out of place in my 1970s childhood, purely for my entertainment.

She was patient and interested and interesting, and every bit as unable to walk past the bookstore we encountered as I was. And when we’d finished shopping, we went out for dinner, just the two of us. We ate and talked and smiled together at the over-the-top earnestness of our waiter. Not once did I have to actively parent her; she knows how to behave herself in a restaurant. So instead, I just got to enjoy her company.

I know the adolescent years and their potential turmoil are fast approaching, and that might shake up the dynamic between us. But for now, it’s pretty wonderful. There’s nothing quite like hearing your child tell you she loved spending the day with you. And for that, I am very thankful.

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