Everyone tells you that when you have a child, your life completely and fundamentally changes in ways big and small. For some reason, I thought I would be different and manage to hold on to some of my favourite pastimes. I was very wrong.
My favourite hobby is reading. Each year, I track how many books and total pages I've read. In each of the last three years, I finished 41 books and last year I set a personal record by reading nearly 16,000 pages. Before July, I was on track to read roughly the same amount.
Then my son arrived. Initially, I thought I'd be able to read at the same pace I was accustomed to. During the summer, I found the time to finish Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, a nearly 1,000-page epic Western novel. I got through it by reading while my son napped in my arms, or laying on the floor beside him and reading out loud while he was awake. The hefty volume only took me a month to get through – about the same as before I was a parent.
Lately, though, I haven't been able to find the time to sit down with a book. One of my prime reading times – in the morning, before I leave for work – is now consumed by playtime and diaper changes. By the time I get home, I have just enough time to cook dinner for my wife and eat while we relax by watching some television. Then it's bath and bedtime for everyone in the house, as we prepare for whatever the night brings. By the time I crawl into bed, I'm usually too tired to read more than a few pages.
Now, most of the books I read have titles like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Master Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: A Sound Primer and O is for Old School: A Hip Hop Alphabet.
I'm not complaining – at least, not entirely. I love reading a bedtime story to my son, and I'm excited to share some of my favourite books with him as he gets older. I can't wait to read him The Little Prince and the Harry Potter series once he's old enough to understand them. I like to imagine him growing into a teenager, then a young man, and I picture which books I'll recommend to him from my shelves. I truly hope he develops the same life-long love of reading I've enjoyed.
Right now, I'm a little sad I don't get to read as much as I would like. I still manage to sneak a page or two, usually on weekends. But I have my whole life to crack the spines of new stories.