and thinking that I no longer have the capacity to think today. There are things….all the things…that need doing. Unfortunately, all the brain power for the doing of all the things was expended on that child.
What child? Oh, you know the child. The child that comes into the library with the mom. You know her. The one with four kids, going through the divorce, taking classes to qualify for that magic job that will make all things better. The one with the youngest child who doesn’t have preschool today. The one who needs to do homework and prays that the youngest child just plays the game long enough to write that one essay and take that one quiz. The one with the youngest child who was good as gold for two hours….and then wasn’t.
To that child, after the meltdown, I gave the last of my brainpower after a morning of library meeting and library lunching and library professionalism that had already taxed the limited resources of this brain. For that child, I did the thing that most parents hate – I gave candy and let do special things. After being threatened for 30 minutes by that harried mother, the strange librarian tried something counter-intuitive and took away all fear of reprisal. That child became a junior librarian and got to do grown up things like check in books and tear receipt paper and help someone check out books and movies. That child said “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome” to someone they’d never met because “that’s how we talk to the people that come to the desk.” That child reached up to put the nonfiction books on the “almost too high” shelf because she learned that books with those kind of numbers are different from the books without them. She learned that people that do work in the library have to wear special tags that tell people who they are and that they work here. She got her own special name tag that is only hers and can color any way she wants.
And now she’s gone to pick up those other brothers and sisters.
And now I’m sat here drinking a Capri Sun wanting to bask in the glory of a teenage staffer calling me a genius and a senior staffer telling me that I did a GREAT job. I want to but I can’t. None of that matters. The more important thing was the mom who said “thank you” and “I’m sorry” more than 10 times in the minute it took for them to finally get packed up and head out the door. I hope they come back, but I hope it’s tomorrow. I hope this becomes the place…the safe place…the good place…THE place where all the other bullshit of life slips away.
I’m sat here drinking a Capri Sun remembering that THIS is the reason I love this job.
And glorying in the fact that I have a bed to collapse in this evening.