Thursday, February 21, 2013

Peace in the stacks

We have days: Monday grocery shopping, Wednesday library {most weeks}, Friday day off with Daddy. Weekly rituals give something to anticipate and add structure to lives that lean towards the reactionary, which wheel squeaks the loudest.

This morning, after two years of library trips, I realized I was breathing easily at the library. A little girl was crying and whining, her mom trying every trick to calm her. My girls kept giving her the 'seriously, get a grip' look while I browsed the non-fiction shelves for school material. Small one sat with a modest stack of board books, happily flipping pages, pointing out animals. Big one lost herself in the Illustrated Grimm Brothers. They sat like that for thirty minutes{!}. I finished before they did. A family milestone.

How did this happen?

Our first library trips were nightmarish. Big one emptied the board book bin all over the floor and ran circles around the circulation desk while we checked out. Small one wrapped her body around a book and screamed torture if you tried to remove it - we worked out a system where I held her over the counter and the librarian scanned the clutched book. We barely made it to the library once a month because momma couldn't take it.

Even a few months ago, small one ran the stacks in a peace disturbing game of hide and seek. Big one sat down next to a stranger and told him she wore 'big girl panties' all the time. And I snatched books of the shelf without cracking the covers hoping a few would prove school worthy.
A peaceful library trip is such a small thing, yet my heart sings. The library is one of my happy places - all those books that I don't have to pay for. Made even better by sharing it with the girls. Especially if we can enjoy the literary wonder without ruining it for others.

At least until little man discovers the board book bin...

The library is our greatest home teaching resource, even over free coloring pages. I want more for my family than an education. Recognizing the ABC's is not enough, a subgoal really. What good is reading if you hate opening books? My homeschooling hope is that they become life-long learnersseeking information after degrees are earned, when no one is testing their knowledge or offering career incentives.

A questioning mind complemented by a library brimming with answers are true tools of learning. When the girls bound for and squeal over new books, curiosity sprouting, we're on the right track.

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