June 21, 2013

library lion

cruz received library lion for his first birthday from our friend anna. it quickly became one of our favorite books (cruz-- lions, me-- libraries). it's a beautiful, witty story with equally gorgeous illustrations. for obvious reasons, we now always take big lion with us when we visit the library.

last tuesday was my first real day alone with both kids. i planned out our day carefully, setting myself up for success. no matter how they napped or needed to eat, i had a plan! everything went well, and for our first outing as a mom-with-two-kids we went to the library.

lion in tow, cruz headed straight for the toddler area, grabbed some books, some Legos, some blocks, and settled in for an afternoon of entertaining himself. london was in the moby wrap while i picked out books, and then i actually managed to nurse her while hunched over in a toddler-sized bean bag chair. i set "the chimes" on my phone to let cruz know when it would be time to put away the toys, check out our books, and head back home. he came right away and helped me scan each books barcode. i was so happy with how everything had gone i could have busted open with joy.

well, pride comes before the fall.

our little library is just a few minutes from our house. my turn signal was clicked on to turn into our neighborhood when from the backseat i heard a small toddler voice ask, "big lion?"

we left big lion at the library.

i immediately called the library and spoke with a guy who sounded much too young to work at the library. "we just left a few minutes ago," i started, "and we're on our way back because we left a stuffed lion behind. would you mind grabbing it from the table in the toddler area?"

"sorry, i can't hear you," he mumbled. ah yes, that's because i have a wailing newborn and a devastated toddler behind me hollering, "big lion at HOME!". we'll start again.

he came back on the line as i got back on the freeway. "i didn't see a lion at any of the tables."

tears welled up in my eyes as i got off the phone. i gripped the steering wheel and tried to keep my voice positive as i tried to calm the kids. in my head i prayed as no one has ever prayed over a raggedy worn out lion. Lord, we have been gone for less than ten minutes. how could someone have already taken big lion? don't they know he's kind of smelly? please please please let him be there. i ran through every scenario in my head-- could we replace big lion? offer a reward? but with his squished in limbs and wrung-out neck and dirty paws, we absolutely cannot replace big lion. with all his imperfections, this is the old gentleman we want and love. oh Lord, please please please let him be there. 

we ran back into the library, far less triumphantly than before. i hustled over to the toddler section, and there, sitting on the table, on top of puzzles, legos, and books, was big lion. he and cruz happily reunited, london fell back asleep, i wiped the sweat from my brow, took a deep breath, and loaded us all (ALL!) back into the van.

oh, i felt so defeated. can i tell you from the bottom of my heart how badly i want to be a good mom to these precious souls? i don't want to be overwhelmed. i don't want a quick afternoon at the library to end in tears (theirs or mine). i want to keep my cool. i see so many moms around me that seem to do this all with no hesitation or fear or gripping sense of panic. they take their children out without leaving behind loveys. what i can't ever be that mom?

it wasn't until a few days later that i began to see the larger lesson in there for me: the tears, the sweat, the bored librarian... none of the drama that followed takes away from our wonderful afternoon at the library. steps backward don't take away from steps forward. day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, we're making this new family work.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you know you are SO FAR from a bad mommy! I'm so glad big lion waited for your return, too.

    = )


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