BOOKS! Books have always been a lovely thing for us. Barnes and Noble has always been our go-to place for an outing. Such comfort in coffee, tea, a cookie and a book. Bookstores were never a place where I could say "no" to a purchase. My internal instinct was to ALWAYS buy a book if Lola and Madison asked for one (as opposed to toys). This year, among the pandemic, my heart is a little warmer and a little more at ease, thinking of how the two girls bonded over books this spring and summer. Lola has long had a love for Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, which she convinced Madison to start reading, probably in mid spring. Madison was hooked and soon I could hear them discussing characters and plot lines in their bedrooms while I was in mine. Music to my ears! Behold....we've had (and continue to have) a reading marathon! And in addition to that, when we were fortunate enough to get away in our camper, we certainly sought out a couple of very memorable bookstores. Bookstores we've added to our Must- Return-To list. The Bookstore Plus, directly in the heart of the Mirror Lake (Lake Placid) was actually the first book store we were able to go to to since February. Fortunately, they also had some art supplies and Madison said, "I haven't been in an art store in 6 months". UGH! My poor artist who loves to look at and touch art supplies, and brushes, markers and pencils! We visited Lake Placid for the first time in 2020. It quickly became one of our places to return to, so we did! And we were sure hit The Bookstore Plus.....again!
We were also able to visit Saratoga Springs and visit not one but TWO independently own bookstores, each within steps of each other. Lyrical Ballad Bookstore, which specializes in historical/ antique books, some under lock and key in glass cabinets, some in a vault! And the Northshire Bookstore, another shop in the heart of Saratoga on Broadway Ave. Inviting, fantastical, vibrant. Our summertime bookstore tour has made me think of the movie, "You've Got Mail" very often! How the girls and I love a real life Shoppe Around the Corner!
There's something about the look and inviting atmosphere of an independently owned bookstore. I appreciate how fortunate we are to have a Barnes and Noble so close to home, but I find a small bookstore so easy on the eyes! We found peacefulness reading in the warm, clean air of upstate New York.
It is painfully, common knowledge by now that there is an increase in recent years of anxiety, depression and isolation among our young adult population, which has only been gaining fierce strength during the pandemic. I have no doubt this is the case among our younger, school aged children also. Sadly, not all adults have the tools or instincts to detect it in our little ones. Regardless, most of us knew isolation was more of a risk in 2020 amongst having no school, no sports, no socialization. None of this is a secret. It's no secret that our adult vibes effect our children. We have to stay the course, now more than ever, especially with remote and hybrid learning taking the place of connecting and playing and hugging. My children are teenagers, but really, their need to interact and bond is no different than when they were children. Its pretty heartbreaking for me to think of a 7 or 8 year old, who just wants to go back to school to see his Best Bud. This year I've had flashbacks to when my kids were in elementary school and I'd see them run to their friends and yell their names and give a hug. How sad is it that children right now must be missing that. They were yanked so abruptly from their routines, their classrooms, their pals. I hope to God we never have to go through this again. I hope someone, who is much smarter than us all has some plans to prevent this in the future and keep our kids together and learning safely.
I'm thankful my girls had each other, staying at home and staying safe. I'm thankful they have understood the importance of all this and figured out how to make the best of it. Still, they're not immune to the anxiety and isolation that other teens and kids are going through. Assuming that my girls are, that any of our kids are, would be a grave oversight. We must help them keep their emotions afloat. We have to try our best.
Surprisingly, I'm also very thankful for the ability to BINGEWATCH!! (Thank you Netflix) The resurrection of Avatar: The Last Airbender, in this living room, which they binged TOGETHER brought me back to when they were 8 and 4 years old! I loved it! I was never so happy to see my kids glued to the TV.
In 2020, hearing them bond and discuss Percy and Grover and Aang..... and Zuko.....and Katara......and Sokka...was a gift, that I got to experience. One of the best gifts a Mom could ever ask for.