I'm not normally a Valentine's Day sentimentalist, but last night I went to an event celebrating my friend Lee Woodruff's new book. More on that in another post, but she said something in her presentation that truly struck a chord with me. She was talking about her family: "Storytelling brings us together."As she spoke, I thought of how storytelling has made our little triangle even tighter over the years. We've read many books together, but there is one series that will always make me sentimental, and that's Harry Potter.
My daughter was almost exactly the same age as Harry when the first book came out, and we decided to read it together as a family. Every night I would read a chapter, or two, or three ... until we realized how late we were staying up.
The second book came out and we again read it aloud together, and by the third in the series we had ourselves a fun family habit, and some serious bonding time. We laughed, we cried, and I even tried to do all of the voices. I must say I am quite a good Dobby.
By this time, we knew we could have gotten the books on CD (or cassette as it was then, sigh). But all three of us were having way too much fun. The books were a very good excuse to sit together and just ... enjoy.
The fourth book broke us, but in a good way. We bought the book just before a trip to Florida, and spent the nine-hour drive down, and the nine hours back, with my husband driving, my daughter leaning forward in the back seat to catch every word, and with me hissing my way through some Parseltongue (look it up).
We drove into the driveway of our home and sat there for the last 10 pages, not wanting to move until I croaked out the very last word ... the book literally killed my voice. I will always remember the three of us looking at each other as I closed the book, still bound together by Harry's spell, and thinking "I love this."
We grew too old to read them together by the fifth book, but the magic didn't stop. We stayed up late to be in the bookstore at midnight for the release of those last three books, and we saw every single movie together.
I confess that we were too impatient to wait for each other to finish reading, so I always had to buy three copies of each release, one for each of us. When we finished, we would keep one and donate the others.
There are so many memories tied up in Harry Potter for me, many that have nothing to do with the plotlines. So on this day of love, I will confess that I love a boy named Harry Potter, a storyteller name Rowling who wove a wonderful web around my family, and I love the two people who share their stories with me every day.