Between the heat and humidity, the traffic and concrete, there’s nothing like returning to Houston, after a month living on the side of a wooded mountain in Western North Carolina. Worse still, my daughter had a 9:30 orthodontist appointment this morning. WELCOME HOME, Sweetie! Open Wide!
Sitting in the waiting area at the orthodontist is kinda a funny thing. Nobody comes bounding in. First of all, the kiddos seeking orthodontia are primarily tweens and teens. So, you tell me how they normally walk into any space. Secondly, it is the orthodontist. As nice a man as he may be, he is the root cause of sore and shiny mouths. My daughter might, in a weaker moment, credit him with a free pass for a milkshake once a month, but otherwise? Not her favorite guy, not her favorite place.
As I waited, reading my book (for anyone interested, I’m about half-way through Pax by Sara Pennypacker), lo, if one blonde-headed, bright-eyed tween didn’t come skipping up the stairs. He plopped himself in a seat across from me, swinging his legs.
I turned to his father who was trailing behind and said something along the lines of it’s not every day that you see someone so happy to be at the orthodontist. Dad smiled, and the boy, himself, replied enthusiastically, “I’m in the middle of a really good book!” He proceeded to pull out Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce out of his navy backpack.
I almost said, “you just made my day!”
I almost said, “it’s so nice to see a kid not on his phone.”
I almost said, “that was one of my son’s favorite books just a few years ago!”
I almost said, “I’m a librarian, you know…”
But, in an inexplicable moment of clarity, I just smiled.
He would not care that he made my day.
He probably is immune to snarky comments adults make about children and their electronic devices, just as mine are.
He doesn’t know my son, nor is he likely to wonder about a stranger’s son’s reading preferences of four or five years ago.
Telling anyone you’re a librarian doesn’t come without risks.
What this child wanted to do was read. Even if it means that I have to resist the urge to open my mouth, I will. Because if a child is that excited about being in the orthodontist’s waiting room, I just hope he will . . .
P. S. I did, however, give dad the thumbs-up.
P. P. S. I don’t recall ever seeing a child that excited to play on Mom’s iPad or her own phone while sitting in a waiting room. Just sayin’.
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