Not so long ago, I used to have two places I called home. No, my parents weren’t in a custody battle. No, we didn’t have some distant vacation home that we visited twice a year. And no, I was not in the foster care system growing up. Right about now, you are wondering what the hell am I talking about? The second home in question that I am about to mention involves a building filled with endless texts of fiction from awesome adventures to fantasy worlds and fairy tales to comedies and thrillers as well as non-fiction. This could include books about recorded events in history, biographies, textbooks, encyclopedias or anything else you could possibly begin to imagine! Well, obviously now you know that I am clearly talking about a library.

This was and truly still is, my second home no matter how old I get. I remember the very first library I walked into as if it were just yesterday. A quaint little hole in the wall next to my childhood home. Just thinking about it sends me into a trance. I can even remember that specific smell of books from new to ancient. The sweet sound of fresh paperbacks being cracked open for the first time in their existence along with the chorus of constant pages turning in anticipation of what is to come next. I relive my whole adolescence again in just the blink of an eye.

So you might be asking yourself, “well….why did it feel like your second home?” This is where I found my first love. READING! For not only did I learn how to read here but learned that books held the power of imagination. My mother was the one who brought me here day after day just to teach me how to read. Now to anyone who has met my mother, they would know that it seems a tad farfetched for her to read all the time. I can hear you saying “What are you talking about??” right about now. Well, she must wear glasses that are ½ an inch thick. So medically, she is considered legally blind. Yes, you read that right. LEGALLY BLIND. How can one love to read so much even though it is so physically hard to see? That is because no matter what you are reading, it can take you away from this physical world into one that is completely imaginary! Where the story appears to fly right off the pages and into a homemade movie playing inside your head that you can change in real time.

Even though it felt normal at the time, each and every day my mom would ask me, “Would you like to walk to the library again today?” and of course I would just scream enthusiastically “YES!!!!! Please, please, please!” as I jumped up and down and around the house. Almost as if I was bouncing off the walls before we finally departed on our journey. It was pure love at first fight. So off we went, just like any other day to my second home to find more books that she could read to me. By constantly reading to me, she knew it was only a matter of time before I wanted to do it on my own. So eventually, I got taught the ABC’s and how to read before I even got the chance to learn it in school!! This is when my whole life changed as if someone had just flipped on a light in a dimly lit room.

Thankfully, my mother was always right by my side helping me along each step of the way. I went through all the stages. Joy, sadness, appreciation, frustration and gratitude. The immense joy of finally being able to read a whole book by myself. The overwhelming sadness when I found out that libraries were closed on Sunday. The endless appreciation I had for each and every word. The unwelcomed frustration of not being able to pronounce simple words. Words like; through, together, friends and anymore. Yet it was through those stages that the final one appeared. As if it were the warm sun coming up from the cool night. Gratitude. Gratitude for my mother, for the library, for the books, for all the words and lastly for the lifelong lessons learned from the morals of each story. Through the thick and the thin, she was there to make sure that I would win in every battle against the mighty book. Making me feel like a gladiator using the books as my shield when the words came at me like a lion ready to pounce.

It’s all thanks to my mom who would keep me busy with reading a different book each and every day of my childhood. Always guiding me in where to find all types of books from A-Z that I wanted to read and conquer next. By first grade it was just more than second nature. It was a way of life for me. It has even followed me all the way through college. So not only has it helped me as a child but it still continues to show me the way when I feel lost. The vast knowledge inside the covers of a book not only shows you something about the author but it also shows you something about yourself. The library will always be like my second home and reading will always be my true love. If you are ever looking for me, chances are, I AM AT THE LIBRARY!