I conquered a real fear (fabricated, self-induced) yesterday, of the library in this town. It was quite tragic since I do love libraries. Actually, the big thing was that I didn’t even think about it. I just said kids we are going to the library today and I had no reservations or anxiety at all. You may be wondering what on earth would cause someone to have anxiety or fear about the library. I too was quite confused and discouraged with myself, but after what had happened I could not think of the library here without reliving the incident and the feelings that overwhelmed on that day. There had been a time when I was taking the kids to the library every two weeks and stocking up on tons of books.
I would place books on hold and normally it was over 25 or more each time. (we have 5 library cards)
On this particular day it was a Saturday, we had been to the beach and the library was on the way home. There were several books on hold that were going to be put back if I did not pick them up on that day. I had actually been there during the week to drop off some books, but I could not stay because I had all three kids and Daniel was seriously overloaded from some other place we had gone, I cannot recall now. I think it was the store. I saw all of the holds we had and I also memorized the location so that I could go in and grab them the next time. Sometimes it is difficult to find our holds.
Unfortunately, we got to the library on that Saturday about 15 mins. before closing.
I ran inside and went straight to the books. Keep in mind I have the library bookshelves and complete layout memorized of this place, it is considerably small. As I walked in three women behind the desk all gave me a look. I went straight to the bookshelves and our lot was gone! I panicked. I couldn’t stop looking at the empty space and think to myself why were they all missing. I was already filled with anxiety because I came in so late, I do not like to come in at almost closing anywhere. I know how it feels to have people come in at the last moment when you have almost completed your day and you just want to leave. I felt bad for that, and I was overloaded from trying to keep Daniel from escaping into the abyss of the sea.
He was still unaware of the dangers of running into the ocean without me at that time.
My brain was in a frenzy and I could not think. I remember the only thing that was running in my mind was “Where are the books?” In my peripheral vision I could see gaps and holes on the bookshelves so it made no sense to have all 25 books moved from the spot that it had been in. My panic had wasted five minutes. I started to breathe heavy and I started sweating. I went up to the counter and told them that my books were gone one woman asked quite rudely: “Did you look for them?” I said: “Yes, they were there just the other day, and some of them were supposed to be pulled today, but not all of them.”
She looked at the clocked, huffed at me, and walked over to the holds.
She asked me my name and the other women looked behind on their carts to see if they were there. The woman at the holds shelves yelled: “Here they are!” As she walked over she said: “You looked for them? Well obviously not very hard.” I told her exactly where they had been the other day, but that they were no longer there, she replied: “Well they must have been moved, if you would have looked for them you would have found them.” At this the other women were chuckling. I felt sick and just wanted to run out of the library with no books at all. It was now closing time, the lady walked over to lock the door and made sure that I knew the library was closed, BUT they all had to wait until my books were checked out.
I cannot tell you how many times I apologized to them.
I did feel awful, it never occurred to me that they would move such a large number of books to another place. It did not make sense and seemed to be quite inefficient to do so. It had crossed my mind, but seemed illogical. My mind was in such chaos that I couldn’t even think straight. The woman continued to make remarks and I finally said: “I said I was sorry, I truly am.” And I did stare at that little mean woman. The other women stopped laughing at that point and started to tell me that it was ok and don’t worry about it. I was so angry and upset by the time I left there. And the woman made sure to be the one to unlock the door to let me out. I had not stepped foot into the library since that day, until yesterday that is. I used the drop box outside to leave the last round of books. It has been over a year that I had been filled with fear, anxiety, and anger about what had happened.
I couldn’t understand why the woman would not let up.
I understood the reasons for me causing frustration, but to not stop after I apologized and to even continue to make digs about my incompetence and also to make sure I felt all of her frustration with added the drama of unlocking the door and such, did not make sense. I had other frustrations with that library anyway, the woman who runs the children’s program yelled at my mom one day because we didn’t stay for a movie. I had already been going to weekly children’s book readings, which were quite a challenge with Daniel at the time. I even stayed after one day with the kids and talked to this woman in great detail about Daniel being autistic and explaining some of the issues for him during the group sitting. She was very pleasant at that time. However, one day I came in during one reading time forgetting that they were having the children’s book reading, and she came up to me with an attitude and asked: “Aren’t you going to go to the book reading?”
I explained to her that I couldn’t I had other plans with the kids.
She huffed at me and said something about how she doesn’t understand why no one cares about reading to their kids. It was ridiculous really. I was holding a stack of children’s books in my hand. If that woman truly knew how many books I read to my kids, I think she would faint. That happened before the other incident. Our regular visits were quite a challenge. The fluorescent lights bothered all of us, there was the buzzing and flickering, the smells, and I got quite freaked out over all of the “sticky” books, toys, tables, etc…I would wipe down each book with cleaning wipes when we got to the car. Everyone got hand sanitizer doused on them. Daniel would run around the place searching for the noises or trying to climb up the shelves to get fans.
It was not so much fun.
Yesterday was perfect! I had no fear walked right in, the kids and I went to the kid’s section, and Joshua and Daniel sat right down. They played and picked out books to read. Ariel read several books while there, I read several books to them, they were all calm. Daniel did not run away, or try to find fans, or get overloaded while we were there. When I said that it was time to go, everyone listened and we all stood in line waiting. WHAT? In the past it was Ariel standing in line quietly, Joshua flopping on the floor, and Daniel running around the front of the library, going behind desks, and going into rooms that he is not supposed to.
It was quite a pleasant experience. Except for the fluorescent light that was broken making a horrible buzzing sound and blinking. Daniel kept asking: ‘What is that sound?’ Finally the light burned out while we were there and it was amazing how quiet it seemed. Well, leave out the tons of questions Daniel asked because he wanted to know why the light made noise, blinked, and then broke. We will try the library again, and I am not going to allow what rude people do make me fearful or keep me in anxiety.
I am very happy about getting over the “library incident” and extremely happy that the kids and I enjoyed the library.