Friday, December 14, 2012

Life with Aria: Advent Day 11

We've been up to all sorts of advent fun.  Day 7 was a trip to Alpenrose Dairy where my skeptical child was won over by their Santa.  Before arriving she was insistent that Santa did not exist and by the time we were leaving she was excitedly telling me how the real Santa was going to bring her a baby sister for "Little Sister" (the doll I made her last Christmas).  It was cute until I realized that I suddenly have a last minute Christmas craft to whip up.  Heh.  Day 8 we made orange slice ornaments, Day 9 we made Grandpa Baker (my pops) a Christmas doodle art, Day 10 we roasted mini marshmallows on toothpicks over a candle, Day 11 Aria got her library card. Day 12 we were supposed to make a jar of love, but Aria came down with the flu.  Thankfully her Grandpa Baker sent along a special package for her and it arrived that day so she opened that instead.  By Day 13, Aria had turned the corner and was feeling much better so we finally got to make that jar of love.  Great fun!  

But Day 11 is very special to me because it was a first.  If you're a parent, you probably know what I mean.  Even if you're not a parent, you've likely heard parents gush over their child's first smile, laugh, tooth, food, step, or what have you.  Firsts are special because they mark how our children grow over the years; they remind us that life is a journey full of firsts just waiting to be realized, and perhaps most poignantly they give us pause to reflect on our journey through our own lives.

Day 11 was Aria's first library card.  When I was little, the library was my safe haven, my mecca if you will.  As a young child, I spent quite a few summers at my grandma's house in Clinton, Indiana.  Clinton is an old coal mining town off the Wabash River.  Small towns can be tough; all the kids had known each other since they were running around in diapers plus I was pretty shy so I never made very many friends.  Summers could have been terrible if it hadn't been for the Clinton Public Library.  It was only about 4 blocks down the street from Gram's house.  I would walk to the library every single day to check out 5 new books and return the ones I had finished. Those beautiful shelves stuffed with books provided endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.  I'd slowly scoot down the aisles, pull the titles that caught my eye the most at the moment, and make a mental note of all the books I wanted to get to before the summer was over.  That beautiful library made my childhood sweeter than it could have been.  They filled my memories with warmth and comfort and companionship.  It was there that I fell in love with the musty smell of old books, that I would come to appreciate the quiet stillness of the library, and that I would find solace in the cheerful rows of bookshelves.

The library was remodeled in 1994, but this is how I remember it.  It really is a beautiful library. Picture from
Some of my favorite books I discovered when I was a just a child.  When I was 8, I read the only three books of the Dark is Rising series that I could find.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I stumbled upon the entire set at a big box bookstore. I stopped in my tracks, instantly remembering how much I loved the books that I had read nearly 11 years earlier. I bought every single book in that series that day.  Fast forward another 14 years and those same books sit on my bookshelf. 

Getting Aria her very own library card was a monumental event. We actually started the day off with an amateur photography session because I needed nice photos to send to family and friends for the Holidays.  So Aria was dressed to the nines, which somehow made the day even more special.  We took pictures on the outside patio area on the fifth floor of Portland State University's Recreation Center.
Oh yes, she had a blast.  Of course I had the hard task of  picking just ONE photo to send around.  I settled on the bottom middle one, but I printed several of the others for me.  ;)  Psst: In case you are wondering, the gorgeous outfit she is wearing is by The Measure, a fabulous designer.
By the time we headed to the library, Aria had already had a super exciting day.  She was literally bouncing with joy as I filled out the appropriate paperwork.  When the librarian handed her the card and told her she could sign it, she first clasped it to her chest like she had received a special treasure before carefully penning her name.  I wanted to lean down and whisper to her that I understood but I restrained myself. She didn't need my help to make her own special memories about this day. 

The Central Library in Portland is gorgeous.  Okay, so I think ALL libraries are gorgeous, but this one has marble columns, an intricate carved staircase, and a whole separate room for the children's books.  While we browsed for books, Aria clutched her new library card in her little hand.  It made my heart smile.  

"Inquire" These steps are carved with a lovely motif and lead the second floor of the library; this picture does not do them justice.  Three words adorn them: seek, inquire, become.
Beverly Cleary moved to Portland when she was 6 years old.  I actually used to live off of Klickitat Street here in Portland, you know the Klickitat Street of Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins fame
This is a portion of an amazing tree sculpture in the middle of the Children's Library.  Aria was quite taken with it.
Here' a better shot of the tree.  Amazing, yes?!
Our selection of books.  I was mostly looking for books that talk about a variety of winter holiday traditions.  By the way, Bunny Wishes turned out to be a sweet little story about love, friends, family, and being thankful.
Books..they give us so much; comfort, adventures, escape; they have the power to teach us about ourselves and others; they feed our souls.  Right now, Aria loves story time.  One of her favorite activities is snuggling up with Momma and enjoying a few good books.  As she gets older, I hope her love of books grows.  In an increasingly digital world where people can download books at the drop of a dime, I hope she comes to appreciate the feel and smell of real books and that she recognizes the amazing service that libraries all over this country offer to adults and children alike. 

So what about you, does the library hold a special place in your heart?

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