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*See* the change that has already happened

January 21, 2009

Every once in awhile, life forces you to see with new eyes, to take another look, reframe your mental image.

I had this experience just the other day.

I arrived at my daughter’s basketball game, studied the team enroute to my seat and silently wondered why she wasn’t there.  As a mother will do, I immediately began ticking off the possibilities on my worry list. She was getting a drink of water. She was still suiting up. She’d missed the bus. She’d been kidnapped. (As you can see, the seriousness ratchets up quickly.)

Within moments I spotted some parents who might know her whereabouts. Naturally, I inquired, “Have you seen Meredith?”  Much to my surprise they replied with, “Yes, there on the floor, number 13.”  This was accompanied by puzzled expressions and fingers pointing toward a girl standing in line to shoot.

“No,” I said [emphatically], “That’s not her.”

The parents then began attempting to convince me it was Meredith.  Their insistence eventually elicited from me, “Don’t you think I’d know my own daughter?”   (I’ve watched the movie The Changeling; I felt like the mother being told that some imposter was her child.)

Moments later Coach was called over and consulted on the whereabouts of my missing daughter.  He pointed at number 13.

She waved at me.

I could barely speak, could find no voice  as the realization (and complex set of emotions) came sweeping over me.  I was a mother suddenly aware that my daughter had changed, right before my very eyes, seemingly imperceptibly, but in reality, profoundly. I knew she was taller than me now. But when had she grown up? When had her face taken that shape and her hair, now pulled completely off her face, turned adult-like?  When had she changed beyond my recognition?

I cannot describe, in words, the feeling inspired by the revelation that I’d been looking at my daughter with such old eyes that I couldn’t even find her on the basketball court that day.  Time for a new mental image.

And that’s really the way it works I think.  You get a picture in your mind’s eye and it is stuck there until you update it.  Sometimes you are forced (by life events) to see the change!  Sometimes you make a concerted effort because you know it’s essential.

People sometimes tell me that the library of their youth is the definition of a library.  While that’s an extremely pleasant and personal memory, it is not truly an accurate picture of today’s library.  Libraries have changed a lot.  The world has changed a lot.

What is your mental image of a library?

If you’ve been to any library lately, your view is probably different than someone who hasn’t been to a library in years.  If you have visited libraries in other communities, it’s likely you have some images in your mind that are far different than the Dwight Foster Public Library snapshot. Your mind’s eye might even show you a “dream library”, a synthesis of a whole group of the best libraries that you’ve seen, anywhere…at any time.

Now is a great time for you to look and see, with new eyes, our own local library.   Look at the beauty of what we have, being mindful of the improvements we really need to make, so that we can foster important, vital growth for our community’s future generation.

See the change that has already happened.  Envision the change to come.

 

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