Tuesday, June 30, 2015

An Open Love Letter to our Library

Dear Library Staff,

We came to our first preschool story hour two years ago. 

We had to leave because my daughter had a meltdown and tore apart some shelves.  You may not remember that, but I do.  It took all my courage and strength to try it again when school had started and the summer crowd thinned out. But we did it.  And it was a little better.  Slowly but surely, she came out of her shell.  She started to sing along, to do crafts independently.  Then one day, she ran to you and took your hand.  She hugged you and claimed you as hers.  You ceased to be strangers and became one of us.  A safe place, full of friends.

My son loved you immediately.  He talked of nothing but library days and started checking out books by the dozens. I was shocked when he spoke to you, befriended all the staff, charmed you with his facts and brutally honest commentary on life.  He even found a few friends his age there, though he preferred you.  If I lost sight of him, I found him with one of you.  At the checkout counter chatting about our family dog, at the craft table in deep discussion about his plans for retirement, learning to use the Minecraft server, or behind the director's desk laughing at a poop joke. You're his kind of people. A safe place, full of friends.

That doesn't sound like too much.  But these are huge milestones for my children.  Milestones I wasn't sure they would ever see realized.  Progress I was scared they'd never make. 


Because two years ago, my daughter was essentially nonverbal.  She could repeat only ten words at two and a half years old.  Her severe sensory issues prevented her from typical daily functioning.  She screamed all day, she wouldn't eat anything but yogurt, she'd never picked up a toy, let alone a book.  At that time, I felt like I'd failed her.  We were in speech and occupational therapy four days a week and awaiting a full developmental evaluation at an esteemed pediatric clinic.  I was terrified and drowning. Fast forward two years, and the gravity of her sitting happily, doing a look and find book, while chattering away about her favorite color and princess may be lost on some, on you even.  But never on me.  Never will I watch her light up and high-five you without marveling and silently sending up a grateful prayer into the universe. 


My son flaps with excitement on the way into story hour.  It's cute and sometimes silly.  And it's progress.  That blur that just flew past the checkout desk on his way to the graphic novel section has such severe social anxiety, we've had to give up every other activity we've tried.  You are his only place. Two years ago, he sat through the stories and songs with his hood up.  I don't know if you noticed, but he never pulls his hood up anymore.  Sometimes a baseball cap or sunglasses, but even those are slowly being phased out. I will always be grateful he's expanding his mind through books, but I'm even more so that you're expanding his comfort zone. If it wasn't for you, I'd never get him to a Lego Club, a science day filled with noise, a story hour filled with touchy-feely toddlers.  He doesn't always do the crafts.  His motor skills are delayed and it embarrasses him that he needs my help.  He has vocal and facial tics. Did you notice? If so, you never make him self-conscious or call attention to them. He walks in your door with a swagger in his step (or just running full speed) because you have made it known he's welcome there. That full speed swagger makes my heart sing.

You welcome my children. You respect their differences and encourage their individuality.  You show them what acceptance means. You remind me what it looks like, when I've all but forgotten.

The ones in the front, lying on the rug?  Those are mine.
 You're our place. I consider you part of our tribe; your building, our wigwam. Your acceptance is our peace pipe. And there's no one we'd rather pow-wow with than you. It's a very groovy thing.

With all my love and gratitude,

Seeker and The Prof's over-caffeinated Mom


  1. Thank you so much, Lauren. This is what it's all about. When I first started down this career path I was excited by the possibilities and the idea that I may even get to help change somebody's life someday. It's the magic like electricity that I feel in my blood every day when I wake up and know I have the privilege of getting to go to work. Your kids are so cool, and they have taught us all so much. I'm very proud of them!

    Peace and Love,
    Mr. Mark

    1. It is magic electricity you peddle. It has changed our lives for the better and we will forever be grateful. Thank YOU.

  2. What a beautifully written piece expressing the highest form of love.

    Thank you

    1. Thank you. Acceptance and love is what it's all about.