Saturday, August 11, 2007

A thing of beauty!

What do you do when it's way too hot outside....go to the library of course! Actually, the kids and I practically live in the library.....and we're always playing revolving door.....take 10 back, check 20 out. It makes my stomach lurch sometimes when I notice that we have 90 or so books checked out.

Today we decided to take some back. Everyone gets out of the car carrying a pile of books. My 4 year-old jumps out of the car and hands me 2 books that her older sister, Maddie, should have been carrying, but I add them to my pile.

Just as I am about to drop these 2 particular books in the slot, Cayla...the 4 year-old, dances by and tells me that I
shouldn't put those in the slot. Now you have to understand that this daughter is ALWAYS telling me her stuffed cats just had to play with the Play Doh and COULDN'T put it away......or her current invisible friend NEEDS to paint....or, the geckos on the back window just HAVE to come in.......etc., you might understand why I just smiled at her and rolled my eyes as I dropped the books in.

Cut to 30 minutes later......we are carrying out more books than we took stomach lurches (I have nightmares of forgetting which house on the street is mine.....thereby making it impossible to return any of the books we have checked out!) We get in the car and Maddie wants to know where her two books are that she left on her seat.

Uh oh!

I tell her that I returned them. Maddie at this point looks stricken. My husband tells her she can just re-check them out later.....he's already pulled out of the parking lot.....and it IS WAY we're getting out of the car, swimming through the humidity and going back in. I apologize to her and tell her that "Monday we'll come back!"

My husband and I start talking about how weird it is to see armadillos....we had just passed one. Not like the squirrels and hundreds, no thousands...... of rabbits you see in Missouri. However, my "mommy" radar is buzzing like a bad headache.....I look toward the back to see that Maddie has her face turned toward the window.....and from the bit of her face that I can see I can tell she is crying.

Maddie is one of those children that cries without sound. Her private griefs and momentary miseries that break her little 6 year-old heart are always without show. Now Cayla, when she cries, the neighbors know about it. But not Maddie. Her eyes, which are huge and beautiful, just leak a sea of silent tears. Whenever I see her cry I want to do anything in the world that would help her stop. (Heaven help her future husband!!!) Of course I have to console her......."Maddie, we can go back and get that book Monday." She looks at me with those incredible eyes. "It's not the book mom....I had Rita's ATC in it as a bookmark." Now my stomach really lurches.

Rita is our best friend, surrogate-mom-grandma, best hugger in the world....and she is back in Kansas City. She and her husband Bob, are the biggest reasons we have found it so hard to "deal" with moving to Houston. Every holiday and sometimes for no reason at all, they will make the kids cards and ATC's (artist trading cards.) This past Easter was no different. It was ATC's with rabbits, eggs and glitter. I still remember that when Maddie saw her card from Rita, her eyes got big and she sighed, "beautiful!"

And it had never really registered before, but whenever I would see Maddie with a book, that ATC would be somewhere close by. I never connected that that was her bookmark. (I did ask her one time why she carried it around instead of putting it in her folder where she keeps other cards.....she told me that she keeps it with her to remind her that Rita loves her.)

Well, I dumped everyone else at the house and Maddie and I went back to the library toot sweet! The librarian found the book in the back.....and the card was still in it! When she handed it to Maddie, she told her that she
wouldn't have wanted to lose something so beautiful either! Maddie smiled and told her, "Rita made it!"

So Rita, if you read this, know that you are a "thing of beauty" to us....and that there's some poor librarian in Texas going, "Who's Rita?"