Monday, March 11, 2013

Now We are Eight

My husband and I have a very strict gift tradition for the eighth birthday of our nieces and nephews. We fill a mailing tube with candy and a few trinkets--but mostly candy--decorate it and mail it out.


Take a moment and consider the impact that would have made on you at age eight. Something like this or this. And for those of you who relate better to cats than humans: this

When my husband and I were first getting to know each other, I started to notice that a suspicious amount of his childhood stories started with, "When I was eight..." This quickly became an inside joke for us--man, a lot sure happened when you were eight! How old were you when that happened? Eight? Eight was a big year!

I have a memory from my childhood about being eight that stands out very clearly in my mind though I wasn't eight when it happened. While walking with my cousin Katie, my cousin Shawn rode past on his bike and did that thing where he slammed on the brakes and kind of slid around so that by the time he stopped he had swung around to face us. I was SO IMPRESSED by his mad bike-riding skillz. I asked Katie how old he was and she said he was eight. Eight! I was in awe of eight. I couldn't WAIT to be that big and be able to do all the things an eight year old can do. Why did that moment have such an impact on me? I have no idea, but since Shawn is almost four years older than me, it is one of my earliest memories.

I have so many indelible childhood memories like that, though most of them I can't put a date to so precisely. I love hearing other people's stories from childhood, and sorting through those moments that manage to stand out amid the hazy blur of memories we carry into adulthood.

One of the things I love about my job is that I can often see that I'm part of making those standout moments in kids' lives. We forget so so so much of what happens to us when we're young. Our childhood memories are strange and random and unpredictable. But as a children's librarian I feel like I get to occupy a special place in the lives of my storytimers. I'm outside their daily life; I don't scold or punish or make them eat their peas. I'm silly and fun and every memory we make together is full of joy. Reading, singing, playing. I see it in their eyes when they see me outside of storytime, I hear it in the stories parents tell me about their children "playing storytime" at home. And I have no doubt that we're making memories that will stick.  Someday when they are adults they'll talk about that one time at the library--probably when they were eight.


  1. This is awesome. And now I want to turn 8 so you'll mail me a tube of candy. BEST GIFT EVER. Well, besides books.

    Also, just want to say how much I love that this is labeled under "unbelievable cuteness".

  2. When I first told a good friend that I wanted to be a children's librarian, her response was to tell me about a wonderful librarian from her childhood. Then she said, "YOU are going to get to be that person for someone else. That's SO COOL."

    You're so cool, Anna. What a wonderful perspective on why we do what we do.


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