Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reflecting on Turning 36 & Children's Educations

Happy birthay to me! :)

When does middle age start? I kinda feel like now-ish. 35 seems to feel like an end to something. And I keep asking myself - how is it that I'm 36?

I guess I'll be of the mindset that age is only a number. It's how you feel. And what you do with your life that can make you feel any age.

And yet I'm reminded by someone's recent post who watched her neighbor grow up into a young woman who is now married and pregnant - and this someone posting said she was old enough to be this person's mother. And I thought I'm old enough to be an 18 year old's mother! Yikes.

Yikes for me, but not for a lot. Some of us looking into adoption are potentially looking at babies of mothers around that age.

I was with my brother and sister-in-law this weekend, away from my parents, so I got to see another side of them, perhaps the truer side of them. Her 7 year old is in a read-a-thon at school which involves him reading at least 15 minutes a day. I was very interested in this as I love books and for almost every occasion I get my nephews books, knowing full well that I may be one of the main people exposing them to books in their lives (my dad may be the other).

She explained the program to me and said sometimes I just let him think that it's been 15 minutes because I can't take spending that much time reading with him.

Yes, that's right - she can't spend 15 minutes reading with him. How is that possible??? I said bring him over anytime, I'll spend 2 hours reading with him!

It made me so upset that I talked about it for the rest of the weekend, with my husband, with my friends. It was so incredulous to me. Maybe I'm not being fair. Maybe I don't know what it's really like to read books over and over and over again...

And then she talked about how her mother used to get on her about how much she drank and whether she was able to take care of her kid (at the time). And she boasted that she feels she can drink and take care of her children. Like that was a big feat.

Yet, I'm reminded that my brother's wife had her first child at 19 and then the next one by accident as well 4 years later. These were both unplanned children. And that's not to say that they aren't good parents or can't put in the effort now.

But I couldn't help but feel like these kids are somehow potentially doomed. Or will most likely have a pre-determined route based on what they're exposed to, or rather not exposed to. And I mentioned to B that maybe we shouldn't put as much in their 529 colleage savings plans... I can't help but feel like how can they say school's important but then get annoyed at reading with their kids? Or maybe education isn't the only thing that predicts making it...

My husband just said that this is all the more reason we need to keep up their 529s, to give them incentive and encourage their educations.

I will do whatever I can to expose them to books, reading, education. In fact, I walked into a bookstore that's closing yesterday and bought several books for them... for Christmas already!

And, I plan to spend part of my birthay reading. :)


  1. Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a fabulous day.

    I think what you do for your nephew is great. I also exposed my niece to books at a very young age. Her parents don't quite seem to see the importance of reading and spending time with their kid!!

    Your nephew is lucky to have you guys!

  2. Happy Birthday!

    It is great that you are willing to spend the extra time with your nephew. Reading to kids and exposing them to books and language at early ages has been proven to help them with reading and language acquisition. As a teacher I have seen the difference in students who had that exposure and those who didn't - and there is a difference (there are always exceptions of course). So, good for you for stepping up!

  3. happy bday!!!
    and your sil... wow... i dont even know what to say- that is terrible!!!

  4. happy birthday. enjoy the time with your nephew as well.

  5. happy birthday. I am turning 36 in a few months too. It agree, it feels a little weird and sounds older than I certainly feel!!
    You are an amazing aunt, your nephew is lucky to have you. It is so sad that his mother doesn't want to support something so positive like reading.... sigh.....

  6. Happy Birthday dear friend! I also LOVE reading and get my nieces & nephews books every Christmas and Birthday. I too feel it is so incredibly important for children to learn to love reading from a young age and for parents to help encourage that. I can't wait to have a child some day that I can read with & to. Your nephew is very lucky to have you and parents aren't always the predictors of how successful children become...you may be that encouragement and inspiration that makes all the difference for him.
    Hoping you had a fabulous birthday & the coming year brings you so much joy ((hugs))

  7. Happy Belated Birthday! I am also thinking about age as my 35th rolls around here soon.

    I also have nieces and nephews who have parents who don't appreciate reading and education. It reminds me how fortunate I was to have parents who valued these gifts and that while we aren't these children's parents, we can still influence their lives! Keep buying those books and reading with those kids - there is no better investment in their future. Long live loving aunts and uncles!