[Originally written May 31, 2012]
After my parents’ divorce, my dad and all six kids moved into my grandparents’ home in Springville, UT. I’m told that I clung to my older sister at first, but it wasn’t long before I warmed up to Grandma.
I wasn’t yet two years old, so I technically should have been going to the nursery at church. Given the traumatic upheaval I had just experienced, having been suddenly taken so far away from my mother, it’s not surprising that I was much too distressed to be left with strangers in the nursery. Instead, my grandmother kept me with her.
She was the ward librarian. I remember her sitting me on the countertop as she served her ward members, making carbon copies, cutting, getting chalk and erasers. I loved “helping” her there. I loved the safety I felt in that space with her, separate from the frightening bustle of strangers outside the door.
When Grandma’s friends came to the little door-window, she would introduce me to them: “This is my baby, Lynn’s youngest.” Over and over and over she said those words: “My baby.” Even long after I was a “baby,” as a small child tagging along for her visiting teaching and even as a teenager, she always introduced me to her friends as “My baby.”
When I think of those days in the ward library, I feel happy. They represent safety and comfort and service and love. She gave me a safe place from which to slowly ease back into the chaos of reality, bit by bit through that little window, reaffirming over and over and over again that I was loved and wanted and claimed… I was hers.
I am now the ward librarian. I make copies, cut paper, pass out chalk and erasers. And my children’s most favorite thing to do as soon as church ends is to come with me to the library, stand on chairs and peek out of the little door-window, help me put away all the items returned by our friends.
I’ve wondered, at times, why was I called to be the ward librarian? I have even, at times, felt disappointed to be doing something so “mundane.” But when I remembered those days with Grandma in the church library, I wept with gratitude to have been given my own little library from which to build memories with my children, coming full circle. I didn’t know my grandmother was going to die during my tenure as our ward’s librarian. But God did.