My favourite librarian.
Right before our first child was born, I told our families, "...I don't like all this
'I'm gonna be favourite uncle, favourite auntie'
stuff I keep hearing from people. I know it's said to be funny, but guess what? Some of you are going to see our daughter more frequently, others less so. This whole "am I your favourite uncle/aunty?" thing starts off funny, but eventually feelings start getting hurt. Thank you for loving her already and being an important part of her world, now it would be awesome if we can all can build the best thing possible with her that is unique."
Unique. I've held to that through the births and development of our other children.
The idea of building relationships that are unique and special, not better.
Do some end up stronger than others? Do some end up deep and frequent and embedded? Do our kids gravitate to some family more than others over shared interests, personalities, and familiarity?
Yes, certainly yes. That's how life is. But we have never referred, or tolerated the idea of some relatives or family being referred to 'as favourites,' even in jest. Because again, those jests are a short distance away from cutting deep eventually. The types of cuts that can lead to resentment, jealousy, hurt, and the devaluation or damaging of relationships.
We're all hypocrites, of course.
My favourite librarian is leaving.
My sister-in-law. More than a sister-in-law and more than a librarian, but those are good starting titles.
I am a hypocrite. Because she is my favourite.
I love our little community library for many reasons. The books. The environment. The employees. A peculiar, odd, unique little public library.
And she is my favourite. Technically, she's not a librarian, per se. She is a library assistant / supervisor (Librarian is a term generally denoting the director of the branch and is a specialized and specific degree...I think). But since the article says 'librarian,' and I've referred to her as such accidentally and not over the years, I'll continue to use it here.
I have watched and marveled at her patience, kindness, and genuine affection for patron after patron who comes in. Anyone who thinks public libraries aren't relevant today hasn't spent time in one. You want a cross-section of humanity? Go hang out for a couple hours. The academics, the homeless, the cultured, the students, the kids, the parents, the teens, the city employees, the millennials, the elderly, the infirm, the thinkers and makers and adventurers and discoverers and inventors and wanderers and wonderers and...
…they're all there, with their infinite personalities and questions.
And time and time again, she helped with a smile. A real smile.
I think of the many times after work, outside work, where she would affectionately refer to different experiences or interactions and her love for her job and the people who inhabited and passed through.
To say nothing of the joy she passed along at being able to talk about and recommend books across genres. It was real. A real and true investment of pride and love that she made for sixteen years.
I remember when she was working hard to get a position within the library system. Working another full-time paid job, doing unpaid volunteer time at the library to get hours, going sunup to sundown to pursue her dream of working there. And then she did, and has left a mark, and is leaving for another dream.
I'll go back. But she has been such a joyful and vibrant presence for so many years that...it's gonna be hard.
I will go back. But I'll have to work up to it. And it's gonna take time.
Au revoir, Rach. Thanks for your service, always with a smile, and frequently accompanied by humorous banter, witty observations, and interesting recommendations.
You were my favourite.