In our family, the children hit a very special milestone when they can write their first and last names together. They receive their first library card. Creative Cat reached this milestone somewhere around the end of Senior Kindergarten, at the age of 5.5. Queen Bee reached the goal this week, at just a few months past her fifth birthday.
Queen Bee has been practising spelling her whole name for a couple of weeks now, and she had finally mastered it. So, after school on Friday, we set off for our adventure. We took a slight detour on the way for a visit and a long play with some friends who live en route, but eventually we reached the library. Queen Bee was so excited she was dancing from one foot to the other as we approached the building. She couldn’t wait to get inside, and in fact offered to go in ahead of the rest of us. She was rather annoyed when I vetoed this idea, and waited impatiently while I parked our wagon and dealt with all of our backpacks, coats, hats, and snacks. As soon as we made it inside the building, we joined the line to speak to a librarian. Queenie was vibrating beside me as we waited for the patron ahead of us to check out maybe two dozen books. When it was finally our turn to speak to the librarian, she suddenly lost her courage.
I explained that my daughter would like to apply for a library card, expecting a paper application form like Creative Cat filled out two years ago. But no, the library has gone all electronic now, and about time, too. The librarian asked for the information verbally and entered it directly into the computer. After getting past her initial shyness, Queen Bee confidently answered every question. She was adorable, spelling out “Q-U-E-E-N B-E-E F-I-X-I-T”, and then correctly giving our phone number, complete with area code, and our address. The only time she stumbled was over our postal code. She even spelled my name correctly.
The librarian asked Queenie to initial the back of her card, and then handed it over with a big smile. I thought Queen Bee’s face was going to split, her grin was so wide. She was so excited she was jumping and dancing, right there in the checkout area of the library, holding her card up to her face to smell it, taste it, and drink in the wonder of her very own library card. Her happiness and pride were contagious. The librarian and I watched Queen Bee dancing with smiles that grew into laughter.
The unbridled joy of a child, love of books and reading, and growing independence, all mixed together in one beautiful, memorable moment. I hope I never forget it as long as I live.