Monday, November 15, 2010

Borrowing from the Library...and Life

My middle son Lefty loves the library. When he was a little guy, we'd take his big sister to school and then spend hours in the library. They'd have a reading day and a character day and it just became part of his life. One of his first words was book. It may have had something to do with his big head. It may also have to do with the fact that it was the one place we went where he could say "Can I have this one?" and hold up dozens of different books and I'd just keep saying yes and yes and sure and uh-huh and he was probably thinking this is the best store in the history of ever because Mommy lets us have everything.

When he was four or so, we were "checking out" at the counter and he noticed for the first time that I didn't actually pay for anything. By then he was well versed in money and Mommy's Credit Card. The blue one with all the numbers. He'd take it out of my wallet and then I'd be at the grocery store and when it came time to pay I'd open my wallet and see that lovely vacant spot where Blue Card was supposed to be.

He hid it in his tightie-whities. He always hid it in his tightie-whities.

Interestingly, no check out person has ever been thrilled about me paying with that card once I got it back. I'm pretty sure that's why the little grocery store by my house suddenly got the self-run-through credit card machine.

For the record, he also hid cash, candy and my cell phone in there. Which I discovered when his bum started playing "A Little Less Conversation" -- I got a new phone.

Anyhow.

So we're leaving with the books and I have no wallet and no Blue Card and no cash and he immediately tells the woman at the counter that mommy didn't bring money and she's about to steal the books. And does it in this way that sort of inferred that it was a regular thing for me, like he had to say it daily to the people at the grocery store, Target and the dry cleaners. It probably didn't help that I was all objecty. "I'm not stealing. I would never steal. I'm not even sure where he gets these ideas. haha. Ummm, we'll just take these books and quickly leave. But not leave like too fast like we're guilty. Just mosey out. God, did I just say mosey?"

Luckily for me, she kindly explained to my son that, at the library, you just get to borrow books and you don't have to pay. You just have to take really good care of them, love them with your whole heart, and then just promise to give them back so other people get to love them too.

He was flabbergasted. Stunned. And, suddenly, very very loud. The *one* rule in the library that he decides to break.

"YOU MEAN WE JUST GET TO TAKE ANY BOOK WE WANT AND ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS PROMISE TO BRING IT BACK??!?!?!?!!" [mouth agape in joy] "THIS IS THE BEST THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!!!"

After that, we'd go in and he was like a crack addict. Forget staying in the kids section. There was a whole library of free stuff at his disposal. We checked out magazines, car books, documentaries, encyclopedias...

[Editor's Note: You think I kid? Uhh, nope. He picked B -- did you know the Berserkers were these hired mercenaries that went into battle naked? They did. They thought it would freak out their enemies. Umm, yeah. Bunch of naked guys with spears running at me? I'm pretty sure I'd give up too. He still talks about it. Mostly because I think he thinks he can become a Berserker someday. It's like sanctioned nudity. -Kate]

...and any book that was especially huge just because who doesn't want to look at a map of Pangaea that requires you to lay it out on your driveway?

We went last week when there was no school. The kids scattered immediately when we arrived. And I suddenly stood there in the entrance and read the signs. And saw my life...

My daughter was in the drama section. She's eleven and full of drama and hormones and boys and shutting her door and playing music too loud and irritated at me for giving her faulty DNA because she doesn't have big enough boobs yet. I wandered down the rows to see all the stories of teenage angst and Bella and Edward and Jacob and Harry Potter and shouldn't he just tell Ginny that he loves her already and Margaret still wondering if God is there and wow I can't believe they still read that book. I read that book.

My son was in the adventure section...Percy Jackson and the Hardy Boys and Ben 10 and all those kids who live lives that are way scarier than his and wow he's super happy he takes karate just in case he finds out he's really the son of SpiderMan or something.

The little one was in the kid's section with all the tiny tables and the little shelves and parents need to walk on their knees there...and there's even these chairs that are like big squishy library chairs except they're super tiny. With tiny ottomans...

And I stood there and looked at the New Arrivals section. It's like the baby nursery in the hospital. We walk super slow through that section and see all the new faces...wonder what they're about...they still have that smell of brand new-ness. And they're so wonderful and you can't wait to hold it, even though you know you're going to be up all night and be useless the next day.

I wandered toward the back to the Reference and Classics...it's a totally different smell. The old pages that are worn and full of knowledge and they creak a little when you open them, but they still tell the best stories if you're just patient enough to go slowly. I ran my hands along them, their authors long gone, yet their voices remain.

When I came back to find the kids, they were all holding their collection of treasures. Full of drama and adventure and discovery and tales of growing up and learning about the world.

I didn't know until that moment how fast it all goes by. I wished we could go back to the New Arrivals.

I stood at the checkout counter quietly watching them check out their books. My son looked over at me and said, "How long do we get to have them?" I told him two weeks and he sighed, "oh, it never seems like long enough, does it?"

No, baby. It doesn't. I knew when I first showed up at New Arrivals, I'd only get to borrow you for eighteen years. I just had to promise to take really good care of you. And love you with my whole heart. And then just promise to give you back to the world so other people can love you too.

And you're right son. It IS the best thing in the whole wide world.

Thank you for letting me have this great honor of being your mom....

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

84 comments:

  1. I left my super-rewarding yet very under-paying job at a small town library to become a SAHM. Everything you wrote about was how I felt every single day going to work, watching children grow into their own through the books they chose, breathing in the wisdom of authors long past, wrapping the new books with plastic covers like so many swaddled little babies. And as I watch my daughter light up when I read her an old favorite of mine and speed through the first year of her life and think of the mere 17 years I have left to borrow her...can't help but blink back the tears. It never does feel like long enough.

    P.S. I've had a couple of kids over the years tell me that they were gonna 'steal' some books cause their mom did it all the time. Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh that was such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing! It makes me want to go wake up my 2 year old and hold him :)
    I love the library too...so much adventure and life there <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh wow. Beautiful post. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. oh, i love, love, love this post - what an eloquent analogy! and now i'm teary.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dangit that was beautiful - you made me cry. I'm gonna go hug my boys now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aaah, this is so sweet. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow... Mega lump in my throat. Almost makes me wish I had one... Until I remember babysitting my nephew for a whole night. We think he saw ghosts. He kept crying at empty corners... Love your blog though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. **sigh** Beautiful. Thanks for that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You made me cry at the end. I love being a mommy, except for the fact that one day, I have to give her to the world. That is the awful flipside to how wonderful it is to have her and watch her grow. Very nice post, despite the tears.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thankyou!! Kate, you're the best.... I want another New Arrival to borrow, for a while... xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this post. Off to cry in my coffee...

    ReplyDelete
  12. That was wonderful! Love, love, love this post. I will be sharing this one immediately. :o) Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, that was lovely. I'm usually crying tears of laughter after reading your posts. Different tears today. Thanks for a nice start to the week.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mrs. Darling said...

    I can only imagine that you felt that there wasn't enough hysterical-mommy-crying-in-their-coffee this morning and you chose to rectify that with this evil post.

    You do your work all too well.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well said. Love it. I'll never look at a library the same way again. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Amazing post. Just amazing and beautiful and perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful.

    I think Mommyland needs a tissue warning icon for posts that might just make you cry.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Kate, Please don't post such sappy things in the morning just after I apply my mascara. But really, this is one of the sweetest things I have ever read. I wish they could just stay little forever.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Geesh, thanks... not even 7 am and I am blubbering like a baby. This post is so beautiful and I love it. Such a perfect perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  20. wowie-wow-wow....kate, i've adored you from afar for your keen wit and awesome insight into mommyhood...you've posted some terrific stuff before, but this post is the best ever....and i'm having trouble typing because i'm crying...that part about new arrivals & borrowing our kids for 18 years, well it spoke so perfectly to my heart....i'm on that other side of motherhood now...my kids are grown and married...i have a grandbaby on the way....but it seems just like yesterday that i was a mommy of young ones. every single moment is a blessing....cherish it all...soak it up...breathe it in....in a heartbeat, you will be in my shoes, and while life is beautiful now, it was perfection then.

    ReplyDelete
  21. sigh... i haven't worked out yet, haven't had my coffee yet and i am already a mess. thanks ladies... thanks again for another laugh/cry start to my day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. So well put. Takes me back to the baby days with my newly adopted infant in her pouch and me browsing the shelves for hours. Now she's in kindergarten and I wish I could put her back in that pouch.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That was wonderful. After a very long weekend with my kids, this post is just what I needed this morning. Thanks Kate!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Aww, this one made me cry too, and you have to post it on the one very rare day that my babies all spent the night with their grandparents, and I can't even go hug them! The library has always been a big part of our lives too, all through your post I was picturing us in OUR library, during OUR toddler story and craft time, and now book club. It's such a wonderful place :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Love love LOVE this. I can't wait to take my little N to the library when she's walking and knows what books are. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. That was great!!!! I will never hear the phrase "he went beserk!" the same way again!!! lol!

    ReplyDelete
  27. What an awesome post! One of my favorite ever and I couldn't agree more!

    ReplyDelete
  28. you're amazing! this piece needs to reach further than this blog!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love books and the post hits home! I'm about to give birth to my newest arrival and my other two both have a birthday in the next two weeks! they will be 5 and 3 it's amazing how fast they grow and it's never ever long enough!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Crying in my oatmeal (and not much makes me cry!)!

    Thanks for this lovely post, Kate. You have a real gift for capturing the essence of the moment and relating in a way that we *all* can relate to!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Kate- you made me cry. Best post ever. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post, really hit home...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Beautifully put! I went from giggling at the beginning...the cell phone in the tighty whities, to tearing up at the end!

    ReplyDelete
  34. This made me cry. So well written. And for me, a former librarian, it really really got the message across. Beautiful. And damn you for making me cry!!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Beautiful! Can I keep mine for 21 years instead?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wonderful! Touching!! and so true. Thank you for your voice!

    ReplyDelete
  37. LOVE this! Well put and it definately made me emotional, lol

    ReplyDelete
  38. I've read most of your posts, and hands-down this is my favorite. Thanks, sharing with everyone I know.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Awesome-est post ever! I'm totally saving this one....especially since my kids are addicted to the library.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Beautiful post...brought tears to my eyes. It may just be my all time favorite "Kate" post ever.
    Love it! Totally sharing this with everyone I know.

    ReplyDelete
  41. WAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No fair! You cannot post something like this without a warning (was there a warning and I missed it? bc I frequently skip the warnings...) so that I read it at work and now look like a stoner freak with the blood red eyes and puffy face.

    Its bad, very bad, for people to be wondering why the HR lady is crying at work and she can't even say "'cuz she was reading Rants from Mommyland".!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Well, that fixed me. My captcha word for posting was real close to hocker so now I can tidy my face and go to lunch ~ weeping anonymous HR lady.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Beautiful! My children love love love the library as well, we're there at least once a week. That is such an awesome way to look at their life. I'm still at the New Arrivals, but it's going by way too fast!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Oh my gods, don't make me cry on a MONDAY. There's TOO much to do Mondays!!

    *sniffles*

    *is going to go noogie her 10 yr old until she squeals and think about the one I only got to borrow for four days*

    Damn you Kate!! *shakes fist through tears, but is totally unconvincing*

    ReplyDelete
  45. Awesome, beautiful post. Making me teary eyed...

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I was in library science school and left it 1 semester short of graduation to become a SAHM (which I do not regret, as much as I looked forward to being a librarian). And then we moved to a teeny tiny rural town with the tiniest library you've ever seen short of the bookmobile... I'd have to measure one. Anywho, my tiny still loves the library. LOVES. And I am so, so thankful - that she loves books, that she loves the library (even with no story time or kids' programming... we're working on that), and that she isn't comparing this library to the fabulous ones I've seen. She's just thankful, ecstatic really, about picking as many books as she wants and loving them.

    So thanks, for this post which rings so true to those of us who love our tinies, love being their moms, love books, love libaries, just love. =0)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Beautiful post. LOVE libraries too and thought your descriptions were spot on. And a tear ran down my cheek.

    ReplyDelete
  48. D@mn you, Kate. Now I'm crying. At work.
    (and after I wrote this, I look back at the other comments and see I'm not the only one. We need our own support group -- "RfM Readers Who Kate Made Cry With Her Library Post"

    ReplyDelete
  49. What. a. sweet. post.
    Missing my kids, grown up and married and one at college... and one still at home but growing away so quickly.
    And they still love me.
    It's wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  50. wow, what an amazing post. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  51. From Laughing HYSTERICALLY about the tidywhitey treasure trove, to tearing up over the library analogy..I loved this post! Thank you! I can totally relate!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I've already commented....last night. But I'm back. I've come back here four times today (so far) to reread this. It really is perfect, Kate. So perfect. Nicely done and thank you for saying it so perfectly.

    My kids thank you too because, though they don't know why, I've been more patient today and given a lot more hugs and kisses than the average day. I want to always remember how lucky I am (though let's be real, they will drive me to insanity again any moment now).

    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  53. OMG...you made me cry, Kate! This is such a beautiful post in so many ways. One, I LOVE the library and so do my kids...we read all. the. time. Then, I could picture everything you said perfectly and felt much the same way. Nothing like holding a brand new book and wondering what you'll find inside...especially if it was a much anticipated book...by a favorite author. Would it be a lot like previous books? How would it be different? How would it capture me and make me fall in love with it just for itself and not just because it was from a favorite author? sigh. I heart books (and this blog!)

    ReplyDelete
  54. My mom used to call these "brick on the head" moments. (it's not nearly as bad as it seems)

    It's where you want to put a heavy brick on a kid's head to keep him little.
    \--kate in Michigan

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oh, that was so beautiful, so perfectly accurate, and omg, I did not see that ending coming. I was laughing too hard! I'll have to confess I then promptly burst into tears. This is truly one of the top 2 or 3 posts I have *ever* read about motherhood.

    ReplyDelete
  56. That was just perfect, Kate!
    I remember taking my girls to the library and bringing home stacks of books. They are all grown and gone now and how I wish I could go back to the New Arrivals again.
    Our favorite book that I'd read to them over and over again (even when they were in High School) was Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear by Ken Kesey. Yes, THAT Ken Kesey. I'd do the voices and we'd just laugh.
    Sadly the book is long out of print, but I keep looking in the used book stores for it. I want to read it to my grandson, voices and all.
    Love you two bunches! MWAH!!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Now I'm all sniffle-y, and my toddler is patting my knee, because he thinks something is wrong. Which just makes me more sniffle-y.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Oh, Kate. I needed this today. I just got finished ranting at my husband about how I'm tired of being "IT" all the time, the one that everyone needs to fix everything, clean everything, do everything, BE everything.
    This post was a beautiful, astonishing reminder of why it is that I am willing to do all this. And that being "IT" is really the greatest thing in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Oh Kate!! That is one of the most fabulous things I've ever read. Thank you for sharing :) You rock!

    ReplyDelete
  60. That was beautiful, Kate. And now I have to go because I am getting all blubbery at my son's hockey practice and they may kick me out because hockey moms are not supposed to cry.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Oh, Kate, this is lovely. I needed this after a rough day with my kids. Thank you for giving me back some perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I'm a teenage aunt and I've always wanted a family of my own, but more than anything I want to go hug my mom, because she only has two more years left to "borrow me". I love the metaphor and I hate it at the same time. I hate it in the way that it's true, because i never want to think of myself as not being a part of my mom or under her guidance, if that makes any sense. Thank you for posting this, it was and is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  63. This is the BEST post ever! Thoughtful and touching. Well done, my dear, well done!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Beautiful and captures life so perfectly. For sure need the tissue icon on the title!

    @ Carla B, I have never heard of that book, but I looked it up and you can buy it used on Amazon! thanks for the nice tip.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Ahhh the nakedness. I almost forgot the nakedness. My youngest once bare-assed it across the Olive Garden screaming "I gotta go" and I'm all chasing her yelling "nothing to see here...potty training baby...what's that dessert you're having?" Thanks for the memories!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Beautifully written! We (including myself) so often forget this and can't wait for this "stage" or that "stage" to be over already when in reality, we don't have that much time with them! Enjoy your kids through the potty training stage, the terrible 2s, the "no!" stage, the "why?" stage, and every other stage in the book!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Beautiful post. I'm all teared up over here, you hooker!

    ReplyDelete
  68. That was beautiful and very timely for my life. I don't know what to think or feel because my baby will be 4 tomorrow and she pickd out a Junie B. Jones book from the library and she's not supposed to grow up this fast,.........*cue hysterical weeping*
    (I may have had a small panic attack at the library tonight)
    PS. My daughter want to be a Berserker one day too.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Thank you! Well said and it brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle, we need to remember to slow it down a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I've spent all my free time in the last week reading your entire blog, so much so that my fiance feels a bit neglected and thinks maybe I'm researching a cult to join. I adore you ladies! And now you've made me cry. This was a beautiful post. My daughter is finally down for her morning nap and I read this. She's 7 months old today, and she's teething and trying to stand and walk and becoming her own little person and I just can't believe how quickly the last 7 months has gone (The Blur, perhaps, cause I has it, oh yes)....and now I'm crying and want to snuggle her and stop time. Awesome post!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Absolutely wonderful. . .I am now a fan. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  72. Great post. I'm a new fan. My daughter's going to be 40 this year and I have a new granddaughter (her only child, my only grandbaby) but I still think of my daughter as my baby. I look at her still sometimes and go: wow. And yes, the grandbaby is growing so quickly it is a blur. She is the most precious thing in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Tears. Won't. Stop.
    Thank you so much for this post.
    My favorite things in the world (besides my son and my husband of course) are books. So wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I hope you don't mind if I print this up and put it in a scrapbook I'm making for my kiddos. You express so beautifully what I feel and can't say. Best. Post. Ever.

    ReplyDelete
  75. You suck arse! Not really. You make me laugh. Then, you trick me into crying. Seriously, I was laughing my head off about the blue bottom card and the klepto confession and then...BAM!...I'm all weepy. Great post, but you need to throw in a mascara warning so my husband doesn't find some 'man errand' to run to avoid whatever it is I am crying about. I need him here to wrestle the kid while I make dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I'm here two years late, but...DANG this post was amazing. You made me cry! I've been all day grumbling about my son's constant griping and my I-haven't-had-a-real-night's-sleep-in-I-don't-know-how-long, and the beginning of this post had me giggling like a lunatic, and then...tears! So beautiful!

    Thank you <3

    ReplyDelete
  77. I just found your site through a friends Facebook page. This post totally made me cry. I have a son that is going to turn 18 in 9 months. I can't believe how the time has passed and wish I would have enjoyed it a little bit more. Thank you for reminding parents to cherish the time with their kids because before you know it they are bigger then you and have girlfriends.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I just want to share this one with the whole world. I cried.

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

What My 9 yr old is reading:

Stuff that Mini Loves

Popular Posts