Friday, September 30, 2011

What Time Is It?

Tonight Landon was all about telling us what "time" it was.  At dinner time he declared, "It is not play time.  It is dinner time," and redirected himself away from the toys and back in his chair to take a few more bites.  Then he would be compelled to get up again, back to the toys until he would re-announce, "It is not playtime."  

I got the feeling it was a scenario that must have repeated itself in his day before. 

But ok, whatever.  Who am I to talk?  I spend all my working lunches at my desk, seeing how much facebook or email reading or postcrossing I can do while I eat.  So I'm kind of a multitasking eater, too.

At bedtime, after stories I told Landon it was time to pray.  He sat up and said, "It's pay time."

"I know it's prayer time, Landon.  Let's pray."

"No, pay time."

"PRAY time?"

"No, PAY time."

"That's what I said, pray time.  It's time to pray."

He got so exasperated with me.  Finally, in a desperate attempt at clarity he said, "TOY time, mommy."

Ahhh, play time.

Who's on first?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Know How It Feels

I almost said no.  I started to say no.  I thought the correct answer was no.
And then, it wasn't.

"Do you have any more of the writing journals?  I really like them."

Well, no.  Those were our gift for the summer reading program, and now they are in deep storage somewhere.  We will see them again next June, though.  So that's something to look forward to.

"Oh, that's too bad.  I want to be a writer someday, and I filled mine, and I really loved it and I wish I could have another one."

He's not more than eleven.  And he wants to be a writer someday.

"I've written 53 books," he said.  "My friend has illustrated a few for me."

I'm genuinely impressed.

He's that perfect mix of shy and serious and earnest that gets me every time.
And a touch of moxie...asking for a summer gift well past summer.  Past when everyone else has packed them up and moved on to book reports and dioramas.

He's still writing.  And he really loved our writing journal.

"You know, I still have a small supply of the writing scrapbooks.  Would one of those work?"

So I'm off to the back to get my key to the closet, and then I remember we have extra pages in another closet, and on my way back from that I run into our staff writer on a lunch break, and with a bit of fast talking and a bit of begging, I convince him to come out and share a little about the writer's life as a professional-a pep talk, man to man, because don't you think this little boy would be inspired to know that men become great writers, too?
And yes, I rattle it all off to him as breathlessly as that run-on sentence would suggest.

So we go back out to the boy bearing gifts-- the scrapbook, with extra pages from two years ago, and the encouragement and tips from the real deal writer who talks to him as seriously as an agent would talk to his next client.

His mom takes notes on her smartphone.  The boy looks up at our tall and serious staff writer with a little shock and awe.  I look up in gratitude and perfect happiness that he is willing to come out and blow on a spark with me.

"Okay, so when you fill up these pages, I hope you'll come show me.  I really want to see what you've written.  And I have more pages where these came from.  This is exactly how Dav Pilkey started, you know.  He couldn't stop writing and drawing and annoyed his teachers and they told him to get serious.  So he did, about his writing.  And now, who hasn't heard of Captain Underpants?"

Of course this boy had heard of Captain Underpants.

And maybe someday, I'll hear about this boy.

I guess I know how it feels to want to be a writer someday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


"What's that, mommy?"  and he points to a (mole) on  my face.  A so-called beauty mark I've never been that crazy about.
"It's a freckle," I tell him.  (Freckle sounds so much less severe, so I go easy on myself)  Soon after, I discover the first little freckle on top of his ear.  A pinprick of brown I thought was a speck of dirt at first. Not long after, another little one shows up on his left knee.  And now I've discovered a matching one on his other knee.

All so adorable.  So tiny.  Itty bitty reminders that even this little baby is aging into a full-fledged boy: "I not baby!  I big boy!"  His indignation rings out every time he declares this.

I've shown Landon all of his freckles.  Well, the two on his knees.  And I told him about the one on top of the ear.

Tonight, as I was beside him for bedtime stories he pointed to something speckled on my face and said, "Is this mommy's meckle?"
"It is."
He sits up with such a grin.  "Like Landon's meckles?"
"Yep, like Landon's freckles."
"On my ear?"
Oh sweetness, how did you remember that??

I may not be crazy about the random spots I have, but I'm crazy about the little boy who just noticed them, noticed his own, and charms me with words like "meckles."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Why I'm There

 I am a librarian.

What that really means varies as much as if I said I was a chef.

We both can serve up quite a bit, in lots of different styles.

She comes in tonight.  She is anybody; she is everybody.  Seeking books during a busy time when a line is apt to form.
She tells me the topic.
She shows me the titles she wrote down in the doctor's office.

I start typing.
I start looking.
I start thinking about whether or not we can get the items on inter-library loan if we don't have them in our collection.
My fingers are fast.  My thoughts fly faster.
I am efficient and professional.
I don't want that line to form, let alone get restless.

And then I stop myself.  Full stop.

I look at her intently.  I really hear what she said: She got this list from a doctor's office after a very upsetting diagnosis for her grandson.  She said it so fast, almost off-hand.

And suddenly I see it:  Her daughter taking the son home, trying not to cry, or maybe too numb to.

She'd be saying: "I'm on it.  I'll go straight to the library.  We'll figure this thing out.  There has to be resources for something like this.  I'll get these books.  You take the baby home.  Don't worry honey, we can do this."

And now she's standing here in front of me, and I can see that she is in pain, and a little agitated, and that the pushy teen behind her waving his dvd at me like he's hailing a taxi with it is causing her to wish she hadn't come.

"I just want you to know,  I really heard you when you said you received some big news today.  Really big.  I want to acknowledge that.  I kind of jumped into trying to find your books without stopping to tell you that I'm really sorry that you're going through all this.  Your daughter is lucky to have you."

And then her eyes get glassy and my eyes get glassy and we look at each other a moment longer than is normal with strangers.

"Thank you," she says, and her voice cracks a bit.

We move away from the front, toward where I know the books are.  Where I knew all along they were without needing the computer to make it official.

She talks about the diagnoses.  The signs and symptoms.  I listen.  I show her the two different sections that she'll want to browse later, when she isn't just here to make herself useful after the first shattering blow.

"How do you know all of this?" she asks with a little admiration.

"I'm a librarian," I tell her simply.  How do I explain that it is my whole job to make the contents of this kitchen accessible to anyone who is hungry?  To find the exact bit of nourishment they need and to offer it in a way that makes them feel like they could have just as easily found it themselves.

"Well, I'm so lucky I got you, then.  You've been so helpful."

Oh, dear, sweet woman with an aching heart, I'm so lucky I got to be with you.  At the intersection of your pain and helplessness, you came here.

To the library.

And you remind me why I'm here.