Monday, April 17, 2017

The Easter I Realized Our Libraries Had Raised Our Kids.

Usually, by the time actual Easter rolls around, all of the kids have already had two or three egg hunts, but this year it was impossible to balance that and other events. 

So it was just me and the toddler who got one extra library-hosted egg hunt in for her age group while my older two were in school. It was in a location we'd been to very often when the eight and ten-year-old were babies and preschoolers, but it's so far now that we rarely visit except for special occasions. 

It was strange being in the exact same library toddler room as I had years and years ago with my first two kids. And the faces of the women had changed-the ones I'd known were long gone, their children far older now. But the librarians were the same. 

And they remembered us. Us as an entire young family.

I was stopped on the way out, my daughter dancing happily with a basket full of candy and eggs, when the front desk librarian said: "This is the BABY?! Where are those two other almost grown adults you gave birth to!"

It took me just a second to look at her face and have all the memories of the great interactions this woman had granted us years ago come back. 

My children grew up at the library.

My first daughter learned to crawl among aisles of books, and learned to stand by holding onto the wooden bins overflowing with board book stories. 

My son was just days old and riding in a sling across my chest when he first went through the library doors. His first Christmas concert happened at a library. 

My youngest was one of the newest babies to get a summer reading certificate. When her physical therapist suggested we learn ASL to communicate with her, we found free in-depth lessons from the programs the local libraries offered. 

My toddler is quickly learning what her brother and sister already know: that libraries are some of the best places on Earth. 

When we had children, I really had no idea how to do anything right. That was terrifying. 

I just knew that this place was one they needed to know, and it needed to happen as early as possible. 

Because it was my haven, too. 

It was where I learned to cook, where I spent hours with the few friends I had writing research on index cards to complete high school papers. It was where my husband took us on our three-year anniversary. It was where I learned how to be a parent. Countless books and films, from baby names to potty-training to getting the kids ready for college years, I found it at the library. I even had a baby shower there. 

My children's art lessons are held there. Their robotics classes. Their Valentine's parties and their video game sessions-it's there. 

The libraries surrounding us have helped us as a family every step of the way. 

And they helped me survive. And they continue to offer a million ways to be a better human being. 

Libraries and their staff can make all the difference in the world. 

Support the heck out of them, please.


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