... I do storytimes twice a week. I take it VERY seriously. If it wasn't for being able to sit down for an hour with little kids and entertain them, their smiles. I probably would have quit a long time ago, especially with the shall we say "unpleasantness" that occured with our last store manager and with the bullying tactics they used to try and drive a wedge between me and my wife. But being able to make them laugh, to have my own little twice a week stage, my own spotlight, even a small one. Seeing their smiles, their eyes wide open, ready for me to make them happy. It's heartbreaking.
In both good ways and bad.
Tuesdays are the best and worst storytimes. The kids who show up at 11 am on a tuesday are kids less than five years old, kids not old enough to go to school. Cool, sweet, warm hearted, bright eyed little kids who call me Mr. Steve with a lisp and huge smiles.
But one day that kid will grow up and be big enough to go to school. And that's when I stop seeing them I remember all of them, the kids I don't read to anymore. And it hurts. I wish I could NOT get attached to these kids but I can't help it. They're all my babies.
Lele is two years old. She is the smallest angel in the world apart from my own children. Her dad is a stay at home dad, which is both rare and awesome. She is a china doll. She can kill you with just a single look.
And she killed me today.
She started crying. I don't know why. I think she fell. For whatever reason, she was crying. I was at the end of the last story. Watching her cry, it started to break my heart. But what hurt even more was that, as the kids crowded around me and I feigned being scared to open the "treasure box" filled with stickers and give aways, Lele walked up to me, put her hands on my legs, and whimpered "Meestah Steve?"
"Wipe my tears."
And I did, fighting back tears of my own. And I don't think I will ever be the same.
Thank you, Lele.