It behooves me to be polite, and politically correct...
So I'll start by saying...yes. I love summer, and reading (reading's a good thing), and of course who doesn't love a fun club?!
Oh, when I think of the start of another summer reading club at our local library, I think games and crafts and children chillin' with a good book under the shade tree out back...ahhh, breezy, fluffy clouds, sweet cherubim...it's a wonderful thing.
Now, my reality.
My 5 youngest can't yet read, and yet 4 of them want to win the fabulous prizes. They'll check out as many books as required...but by God, Lucy wants to win that fluffy puppy!!!!
By the grace of our Lord, we survived week one...the sign up process, and checking out our first round of books. We bring them home to read. And everyone is excited, and there are back packs and picture books scattered as far as the eye can see. Older siblings reading to younger ones, and life is lovely.
Week two comes along and it's time to have our papers checked in at the library desk. For every 10 books, we earn a "chance" ticket. Chance. Not guarantee. Chance. For all sorts of fabulous, amazing prizes. All four of the youngest along with three of the older ones are lined up with me at the desk. Except, not lined...they're clustered. Everyone anxious to get their books counted and prize "chances" in hand. Becky (the library lady) is used to crowds like us, and she's amazing. But Frank gives her a run for her money when she compliments him on his hard work. "Nice job Frank, you earned 2 tickets this week." You see, he changed his name again (to Jay) and argued with her vehemently about this. She's a professional though, and walked right through it with a brief explanation about having to use his "legal" name for now...just until he changes it with the courts. He seeemd okay with that. But she encouraged Jay to keep up the good work...and wiped the sweat from her brow as he walked away.
After we made it through that tornado...me scurrying to fill out names and phone numbers on 8 or so prize tickets, kids choosing from the box of mystery prizes, and Becky reminding them to put sticky stars on their wall-hanging...it was off to check out new books (3 each), and complete the weekly puzzle page, and scope out the craft table, all the while Anne is running like a wild rooster rearranging all the books on the lower shelves. (I'm sorry Becky.) She paused only for a brief time to shimmy up into the window sill to watch construction crews out front...and then to toss a few train pieces behind the puppet show. It's a free-for-all. And I feel lucky to come out alive.
After convincing Charlie that he doesn't need to check out a 300 page book on World War 2, and promising a crying Lucy that her 2 tickets might just win her that daggon fluffy puppy, scooping Anne out of the bucket of puppets, and reminding kids that we can't just shove all the books in our packs...there's a check-out process...we indeed check out, and are on our way home.
And backpacks are tossed, forgotten into the coat closet until next week (most likely) when I speed read my way through a dozen stories about happy meadows and sweet dollies, kids lined up on the couch so "I only have to do this one time." The sad truth realized that snuggly bedtime reading or daydreaming thru a good book in a lounge chair outside just ain't gonna happen. Not in our crazy world.
But we're reading, and it's summer, and clubs are fun...and I don't know whether to pray that Lucy wins that God-forsaken fluffy puppy, or pray instead that we're in court that day with the name-changing process so that she doesn't realize some other little girl's "chance" won out.
Whoop-whoop! IT's SUMMER!