Monday, October 1, 2007

The case of the missing library book

Before I got married, I returned to my parents’ house to clean out the drawers of my old bedroom. Tucked away in one of them was my diary from when I was 10 or 11 years old. Most of the pages were blank, but in the middle of the journal was a rather long entry that began “Dear Diary, Today is the worst day of my life.” What could have possibly been the source of such dramatic pre-teen angst? A lost library book.

It was the end of the world, according to the younger me. I had successfully borrowed and returned hundreds of books. What could I have possibly done with this one? How could I have been so careless? Now I was going to have to pay the price of the book – money I’d much rather use buying the latest Corey Hart or Culture Club cassette tape.

I relived that episode last night after I put Ladybug to sleep. We had been reading the books we borrowed from the library on our bed, and one was missing. I looked under the pillows, sorted through all the blankets, even pulled the mattress away from the wall in case one had slipped through. It was nowhere to be found.

“You’ll find it,” my husband encouraged me.

“But if I don’t, we’ll have to pay for it,” I said.

“Big deal,” he replied. “We’ll pay for it.”

What a simple solution, and one that I probably would have agreed to in my pre-baby days. But being in the midst of teaching Ladybug the concept of responsibility, I wondered if that action would unintentionally convey the wrong message – that you can just buy your way out of difficulty.

Perhaps I was reading too much into the situation. Besides, Ladybug was in bed and not there to witness the exchange. But I kept looking for the book anyway and eventually found it under a blanket in the living room.

My worry over a life lesson was shelved for the time being.

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