Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hogwarts or bust

We moved our young family, including our two-month-old firstborn, across the country in the middle of winter. It was a dreary time for me. I had no friends nearby and the closest family member was 2,000 miles away. There were no sidewalks adjacent to our apartment complex, which didn't matter, because there was nothing within walking distance, anyway. To top it off, my husband would take our only car to work each day. I was very, very alone.

Our baby was anxious from the start. He had trouble nursing and trouble sleeping. I spent (no kidding) a good eight hours a day in the rocking chair. My friend was the television, and there were days when I didn't change out of my pajamas. When I think about my life now, how I rarely sit down during the day, I have a hard time remembering what it was like. I do remember the loneliness. But I also remember a bright spot.

I decided, a few months into my solitude, to track down just who this Harry Potter character was that I had heard about. I brought home a copy of the Sorcerer's Stone from the local library. I settled in to the routine of feeding and rocking, but this time, I had a new friend nearby.

I fell in love with the book in the first few pages (it had me at 'a completely owl-free morning') and I devoured it. I breezed through the second book as well. The third book helped me escape during a visit to the in-laws' family where my baby nephew was mortally ill. The fourth I read aloud to my husband into the wee hours of the morning.

I had found a friend. Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

I and millions of readers watched as Harry grew up and dealt with increasingly desperate circumstances. I laughed, cried, and held my breath. Each book release was fun to anticipate.

I watched our firstborn grow up as well. So it wasn't a big surprise when he approached me and asked permission to start reading the series. I was hesitant at first because I knew how the series matured and I was unsure that he would be ready for those themes. But then his teacher, on his progress report, noted that he was only interested in non-fiction books. Here was a chance to foster a love of fiction. I said yes. Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

A few months ago I noticed that our firstborn was unable to see things at a distance, so I made an appointment with the optometrist. My husband and I talked it up in the days leading to the visit. After all, if both mom and dad wear glasses, so could he! He was excited and nervous at the visit. We picked out the frames and ordered the lenses.

A week later we returned to pick up his glasses. As we sat down at a small table to have them adjusted, he put them on and turned to look at himself in the mirror. My throat was dry and I held my breath. It was all I could do to keep from biting my fingers in fear. Here was my baby, my eight year old, about to see himself in a new light. Would he love it? Would he hate it?

He examined his face for a moment. Then he snapped his fingers and pointed at himself in the mirror, winking, while a huge grin spread across his face. I almost fell out of my chair. "What?" I asked, giggling.

"I look like Harry Potter!" he proclaimed.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling.


Sally said...

Very cute! I love the story and how you told it. I can see why millions love the series!

Jodi said...

Gotta love J.K.!!!