Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Day the Librarians Rejoiced

Another oldie but goody. This one isn't quite so funny, but it's a good story.

When Lexie was three and four years old, I took her to storytime at the library every Tuesday. Or maybe it was every Thursday, no, I think it was Tuesdays. She's 18 now, I've forgotten the little things that don't really matter.

Anyway, we were regulars at Preschool Storytime. Lexie called all the librarians "Shirley". Do you know how long I thought they were all named Shirley! Too long! None of them were actually named Shirley, it's just that Lexie named them. I called them Shirley for years. Honestly, I kept thinking things like "I thought that one was Shirley, I mixed them up again, Are there two Shirleys? Must be." Anyway...

One Tuesday (or whatever day it was), Lexie had a playdate before storytime and we decided to meet up at the library and I'd get Lexie back there. Lexie went with her little friends and their mommy and I ran some errands before I headed to the library for storytime. I got there a little early. Catch that? Me! Early! I went to the library alone. This is a crucial element to this whole story!

I walked in with the previous week's pile of books, sauntered up to the front desk and smiled said hello, dropped the books in the return cart... noticed the Shirleys were all staring at me. They were, they were just staring at me like I walked in naked or something. No, not that... they would have been screaming and hiding their faces... anyway, I got the big eyed silent stare from all of them.

None of them said anything for a bit, and then the head Shirley said, "How are you? Are you ok?" Usually people only ask me if I'm ok or if I'm sick if I'm wearing a green shirt. I replied, "Fine, How are you?". Me, smiling. Them, staring with sober faces. They said, "We didn't think we would see you here today". I said, "Here I am!".

I didn't know what was wrong with the Shirleys, but I was done being stared at so I went to the table where us mommies usually gather to visit. Still kind of early. The Shirleys were staring at me and whispering. I could feel it.

Then the kids and mommies started to arrive, coming in just the nick of time was my friend with a herd of kids. Lexie was one of them, she had one more stray, and the rest were hers.

As soon as Michele showed up, that's my friend's name, Michele with one L, the Shirleys all rushed to the front door, holding it open for her and gushing over Lexie. They were kind of ignoring the rest of her brood. The Shirleys were overjoyed to see my daughter! "Oh Lexie! Oh Lexie! We are so happy to see you! Such a nice surprise!" Huh? Wonder what the Shirleys put in their morning coffee today?

The Head Shirley, she was wiping back tears and she herded all the kids to the nametag table and told Lexie to wait a minute, her nametag wasn't out. It was in the Libraian's office. The other Shirleys are still smiling and patting Lexie on the head. Again, huh?

Head Shirley comes back with the nametag and another Shirley follows. Second Shirley is carrying the Sioux Falls Argus Leader on a stick. You know how libraries put newspapers on a big long stick? I always thought that was pretty cool. The Head Shirley has herself composed again and shuffles all the kids into the next room for storytime. Newspaper on a stick Shirley lays the paper down on the table in front of me and points to an obituary.

With watery eyes, she told me that they thought Lexie passed away. And they were so very sad to see this obituary this morning for a 4 yr old little girl with the same first and last name as my daughter. The mom's name was the same or similar to mine to too. And when I came in alone, they knew it was true.

I had no idea that's what they were thinking! The obit was a complete coincidence, no relation or anything. Lexie was happy and healthy and all the Shirleys were delighted to see her. And my bizarre behavior was suddenly clear to them, as theirs was to me.

I bought a paper and saved the obit in her baby book. Just as a reminder that there are no guarantees in life, but there is a lot of love and caring for my sweet little Lexie. Even when she is just fine!


Mom Taxi Julie said...

Wow how freaky! No wonder they were all looking at you funny.

Kallee said...

That is such a crazy story! And just to let you know, there was a Shirley that worked at the library. :)

Living With Cavemen said...

Aw, I'm glad it wasn't our Lexie! That is freaky weird. Glad to know that you had (and still do have) such caring people in your lives.

Michelle said...

Oh how freaky for them... and odd for you, but thank GOD nothing ever happened to your girl. That's one of the things that is always in the back of my mind.

Anonymous said...

That is SUCH a beautiful story! I love all the Shirleys!!!!

Kate said...

What a fabulous story--to find out just how much your baby is loved by all the Shirleys in her life. I love that you saved the obit in her baby book.

Jen H said...

What a crazy story! And those poor librarians who thought you'd lost your Lexie if only for a short time. The heartbreak everyone surrounding a family feels when a child passes is immense. I am so glad it wasn't YOUR Lexie. She's grown up to be such a beautiful girl. Thanks for sharing that story, Mary!