Birthdays aren’t usually a topic on my blog, but this year, the sun is out, the sky is blue, my life has been upended for over a year, and I’m musing over this ⤵️
Yeah, I know “found (and kept)” denotes an object. But having the surprise of my post-brain injury life of being told I can regain my reading comprehension and in only a couple of months — after 18 years of no-can-do — is like finding a precious gift.
Keeping it, though, was hard work at first.
Now, my morning reading routine is also a gift. A really cool gift.
It’s not like I took my reading for granted before my brain injury. Although I have memories of learning to write English and Hindi, I have none of learning to read English. I asked my mother about that. She had a board book that taught kids the letters of the alphabet. She doesn’t remember exactly when she began reading it to me and I began reading it to her, but somewhere before 18 months old. (She worked as a nurse for the first year of my life but had to quit for my sake. I think I was a bit of a handful, endlessly curious.)
I treasured books. I felt bad for people who struggled with reading, and I didn’t know why schools didn’t do something about it. I admired those who taught literacy to adults.
My one regret after brain injury in 2000, was listening to and complying with those who grumbled about how much I read, who wanted me to read less. Even if it wasn’t necessary for a writer to read read read, what was wrong with reading beside them while they watched TV? Or reading when no one else was at home?
Losing my reading comprehension, losing my time with books because of brain injury, and realizing how much I’d given up before my injury for the sake of others’ resentments, created regret for having listened to to them and reading less than I’d wanted to.
I remember that regret and, today, I devote my mornings to reading.
Reading novels no longer heavily fatigues me…as long as it’s under an hour and not too taxing on the cognition aka visualizing. That, too, is a gift, a gift that practice (in the way Lindamood-Bell taught) gave me.
My cool birthday gift to myself is to simply enjoy the reading start to my day.