Before I could stop them, my boys sprinted ahead of me,
burst through the library doors,
and ran up to the door of the room where storytime was held.
I nervously eyed the older librarian watching them intently as she sat behind the checkout counter.
"No running, boys!" I sheepishly reminded in my whisper as I caught up to them and walked with them into the room.
They eagerly took their seats and were excitable participants in the discussions and songs.
After finishing our crafts, I led them back to the checkout counter and the librarian who had watched them earlier. I was embarrassed again as I presented three books that had been damaged when they were left within Lincoln's reach and explained what had happened so I could pay the dues.
The librarian greeted us with a smile.
"I saw these boys come in here with such huge smiles on their faces! I thought, somebody loves story time!"
She patiently surveyed the ripped pages and, with the help of another librarian, determined that our amount due came to a grand total of $0. They brushed away the problems by claiming that the binding was weak on Blueberries for the Queen, they had newer copies of If Rocks Could Sing, and some book tape would make a quick fix on Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.
"Are you sure?" I questioned. "We're happy to pay."
They reassured me that it was no problem.
I explained that I had the rest of our items in the car and would put them in the drop box,
but I wanted to renew just one book.
I guess she could tell that it wasn't just because we loved the story so much.
Somehow that little book had made its way into a hidden corner of the house.
"Well, we'll just renew all of them, and then when you return the ones you have they'll come off, okay? That way you can keep whatever you need to. I know when you have little ones sometimes it's hard to keep track of them all!"
I wish my simple "thank you" could have expressed my sincere gratitude for her patience and understanding toward my little family more fully.
Inconveniences we experience in our interactions with others are just a part of life.
And when others are patient in response to the problems I create, there wells up within me a desire to show the same tolerance and understanding toward those who may learn lessons at my expense.
Because we all take our turns on both sides.
And in the meantime, we'll keep searching for There's a Nightmare in my Closet.