The Best Day Ever: when my librarian and mom lives merge on Wyoming Reads / Literacy Day

I've been looking forward to this day since I started working at the Library almost a decade ago, and really, even before that.

My first experience walking into the Library I hoped would become my place of employment was the day before my initial interview, because I wanted to see what this "Casper Cares Casper Reads" program was all about. This happened to be the year before it became a statewide initiative. (Wyoming State Library posted a short history of Wyoming Reads.)

Wyoming Reads has become hands down my favorite work day of the year. The level of excitement is unmatched. Nothing is more special than an entire event that celebrates the power of reading and especially with an age group that still believes in the magic of special moments in time....
Watching kids pull THEIR new book out of the bag, seeing their name printed in the front, and wiggling with anticipation as they lovingly turn the pages...  hoping that the celebrity reader chooses to read their book, and reading along if the chosen book is the same as the one in their lap...

I love it when teenagers can still remember the book they received... 

I love tying loose shoe laces, matching their wide grins with my own, and telling these kiddos that the sunglasses in their bags are magic reading glasses.. some beam at that idea and others are skeptical.  One year a little darling asked if the magic ever wore off and I was happy to tell them it never would.

I've waved hello to little cousins and friends, and after helping direct the lines during center rotations, I've found my way over to snuggle up with my nephew and niece during their respective first grade years.
But this year... oh this year.  My 13th Wyoming Reads. The first of three Wyoming Reads celebrations with my own little wonders. 

All year I've mentioned to X how excited I am for the day and he has said "cool mom" and obliviously gone about his business.  And each time I tell him snippets of what will happen, without giving away too much, he nods or smiles, probably thinking "wow, my mom... she keeps talking about this book thing.. but she always gets excited about books. Like any normal day."

Over the winter, I asked him which book he picked when they read them all in class.  He couldn't specifically remember, although he was sure it wasn't "Strictly No Elephants" "because we have that one, Mom".... well, no, it had been a library book we checked out... so guess what the Easter bunny brought X ;).

A month ago I told him I took the day off work, arranged for grandma to keep the girls so that, if he wanted, I could spend the whole day with him, first at school and then at the Library for Wyoming Reads.  The hug was big and mighty. He loves it when mom comes to school.

Last week as we cleared up some confusion with other school events coming up, X excitedly recounted "did you know just the first graders get to go on a trip to your public library, Mom, probably at like the end of the year? My teachers just told us."  Me (with a big smile): "Yes, dear. That's next week... you know that day I've told you about. The one where I'm spending the whole day with you... ;)" 

Last night X asked for a sleepover with me so our day together could start when we woke up.

At school, I reassured the kids that the grey skies would clear and the rain would hold off until the special day was done, because that's how the magic of Wyoming Reads and the Good Queen Sue works.. And just as we hoped, the sun came out as we rode the bus downtown and the rain sprinkled only after everyone had safely returned to school following the celebration. (I believe 2 years ago was the only time since I've been a part of this that the rain actually didn't stop.)
Our first rotation was lunch, then the art museum for the fairy tale of the Good Queen Sue and distribution of books, and finally the walk to the Library, where local celebrity readers read the new books to excited 1st graders.

As we walked on the trail to the Library, X skipped along singing "it's the best day of my life."

When I told X's classmates that the sunglasses were magic reading glasses, they asked how they get the magic in them... I told them I don't know, but once it's there, it never goes away.
In a few years, I'm not sure what he will remember about today. I hope when he looks at the bookplate, he will remember that it means something special.

I hope he will remember that Mom takes days just to spend enjoying moments with him, like we used to do when it was just us. And if he doesn't, I'll remember for the both of us.

And four years from now... I will take the day off again to experience this special best day ever with my lovey Lou.... and then two years after that with the baby.


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