It was Saturday, a day I had been dreading for awhile. Two activities for two girls, on either ends of Columbus (we live north of Columbus).
My older daughter, Libby, was swimming in Columbus. Outdoor. Not a huge meet, but a fun meet with a lot of her friends. That was Saturday morning.
Saturday afternoon my younger daughter, Katy, was dancing in Delaware (our town, not the state). Big recital, end of the year thing, for which her class works all year. I had to be home to get her ready, because for this my little girl needs her hair done, her face made up, and her costume adjusted just right. Things dad could probably do (he’s quite capable), but his look of fright rivaled only by Jamie Lee Curtis when I said I was going to go to the swim meet before the dance recital.
But, I explained to him, I would be back. If necessary, I could get Libby a ride home. I was going to watch both my girls do there thing.
So I drove Libby to Columbus kind of early. We sat in the hot, humid sunshine and cheered our kids on, having fun the whole time. Libby swam pretty well, but the fun she had was the best of all. I watched her giggle with her friends, having a great time. I got to watch all her individual events, leaving before her last relay. She got a ride home with a good friend, so that meant even more fun for her.
I got home in time to shower and dress my little one. Dance is her thang. She loves getting on stage and moving and grooving. Once she was dressed, we moved onto the theatre, where we waited in a little room for her to dance. And dance she did. She got all her moves right, beautifully right (which is a big deal with her special needs dance class), and had a great time.
I got to do both. I got to see both my girls do what they love, and smiling about it the whole time.
A perfect day for me would be watching my girls do their favorite things: Libby would be singing, and swimming, and playing lacrosse; Katy would be dancing (and probably singing, too), and hanging with her friends. And I would get to read for an hour or two in there. Saturday I got a nearly perfect day. There was no lacrosse, no singing for Libby (except in the car), and no lacrosse. But every other element was there.
The icing on the cake was watching Jurassic Park (the original one) as a family. Watching my 12 year-old get freaked out by dinosaurs from the 90’s (‘they look fake,’ she said, until they ate someone and she screamed) was the best thing that could happen at the end of a nearly perfect day.
I love that my girls have passions, and it is my favorite thing in the world watching their passions come alive in front of my eyes. A child with a passion is a beautiful thing; it’s my belief that if a child has a passion, he or she is less likely to make stupid choices in their teen years, because their passion with keep them too busy, and that passion will keep them enthusiastic and involved in something else. Well, that plus parent/child communication. (I have a few years to see how this works, but, from what I can see, this is what has worked for parents of those kids I actually like as older teens.)
One of my jobs as mom is to fuel my girls’ passions, to keep that flame burning. The way to do that is to get them to practices and classes, to tell them how proud I am of them and their efforts, and to make sure they’re having FUN. Fun is the biggest fuel; I’ve seen kids quit activities that they’re good because they’re not having fun. Yes, we spend money and time on these activities, but it isn’t so they’ll get college scholarships (that may happen, but I’m not counting on it), but so they will have something they love through childhood, and something that they will love for the rest of their lives.
So, as that mother, as that parent, I will run from one end of Central Ohio to the other to get them where they need to be, and to watch them spread their wings and fly. I will do my best to make sure they’re getting what’s best for them. I will fight the fight for them, cheer loud and obnoxiously for them, cry and laugh for and with them, and, especially, burst with pride when all goes right and they’re pleased as punch with themselves.
That’s my job; my number one job. And I take that job more seriously than just about anything else in my life.
Okay, now, onto another story about a proud, prodding (but not particularly good) parent: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins.
This book will be released on June 14th, and is available for pre-order now.
What would happen if God, or a god, took a bunch of mortal kids and taught them all the tricks and tips of his trade? Take this, make the god go missing, and now you have Scott Hawkins’s The Library at Mount Char.
Years ago, Caroline was a normal American child living in a normal American neighborhood. And then tragedy struck, killing the neighborhood adults, but Caroline and many of the other neighborhood kids are taken by a scholar-god to his incredibly vast library, giving them the opportunity to each learn the secrets of his ‘catalogs.’ Caroline’s catalog is languages, and she’s pretty good at them.
Flash forward about 20 years, and the scholar-god is missing. Caroline is on a mission to find him–or is she? Through their years of study and survival away from mankind, these ‘children’ have forgotten the most basic of things necessary for survival; humanity.
Caroline must find her humanity and save the world. With the help of the other library kids, a (somewhat) reformed burglar, and an incredibly smart ex-warrior, she might be able to do it.
The Library at Mount Char is highly imaginative and well thought out. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Hawkins creates a world with well developed characters and scenarios that are funny and heartfelt.
There were times in this book, especially the first half, when I was a little lost. The changing storylines and switching perspectives bogged me down, but it all came together in the last third of the book or so. And the time spent in heavy thought paid off, big time.
This book was a great fantasy novel; the depth and description helped Caroline and her world easy to picture in my mind. Each character came alive, each scenario was real in my mind.
In the end, this one is all about the redemption of love, and what childhood memories and love can trigger in a lost adult. It’s all about how we need to hang onto love, and passion, and humanity, in order to make the world a better place.
I give this one 4.5 stars. Wonderful, beautiful, and superbly imagined.