“Are we almost there?” came the small voice of the three year-old in the back.
“Yes, honey, almost.” Although the library is only about eight minutes away, time likely passes differently when one is only three years old. Driving along the wet roads, I noticed that even though the temperature had finally risen above freezing, piles of snow stubbornly remained, now looking more like soiled shaving cream than fluffy cotton.
Finally, I swung our Honda into the parking lot of the library. Eerily, no cars seemed to be in the lot, nor anywhere. “That’s strange,” I thought. Squinting, I peered through the car windows to see if any lights were on inside the library. Didn’t seem to be. Hmm…
Suddenly, two cars pulled in behind me. Library patrons. Oh, okay, I thought. Maybe just a slow day. Pushing my car door open, I circled back around the car to unbuckle the baby. Since my two older daughters had decided to stay home (“We already have books, Papa,” they’d said), the youngest and I were about to enjoy some special time together. As I pulled her door open, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a person wearing blue walking toward the front door of the library, confirming my theory that it was just a slow day. It was open.
“Ready to go in?” I queried. “Yeah!” came the delighted response. Unbuckling her seat belt and placing my hands under her arms, I hefted my daughter from her car seat. Library time! Grabbing our stack of books to return and swinging the door closed, I tried not to slip in the wet snow beneath my feet. I then turned to face the building.
“I don’t think they’re open,” came an unfamiliar voice. Looking up, I saw the blue jacket man walking back toward us, away from the door.
“Really?” I asked, trying not to sound exasperated. “But they’re supposed to be open until three.”
“That’s what it says on the door,” he responded. “But the door’s locked, and the lights are off.”
I knew it. Well, I didn’t know it, but I suspected.
“I’m going to head around back to the return bin…want me to take those books and return them for you? I see you’ve already…um, unloaded.” The man had noticed my situation.
“Oh sure,” I stammered, “that would be great.” While appreciative of the man’s offer, I attempted to hide my disappointment.
Back in the car, I checked the library website– yep, open until three. Sighing, I broked the news to my three year-old. “The library is closed, honey. Maybe we can read books at home?” I suggested.
“Can we read Found and Stormy Night?” came her answer. I smiled, hearing her name two of her current favorite titles.
“Of course, honey. Of course.”