The girl I used to be.

As a reward for making good progress with potty training, I took the kids to the bookstore this week to get BB a new book (::does happy dance::). Side note: I LOVE that the prospect of a new book excites my children as much as it does me. If there was any question about whether these kids take after their parents, this fact firmly settles the debate.

In addition to the book she chose, I wanted to get her a book about using the potty to kind of keep the momentum going – but I was having a hard time finding any so after circling the children’s section several times, I broke down and asked a sales person – a hip twenty something who knew all the books and loved all the books – you could tell just by standing near her that she loved her job. I should know. I used to be her.

me and hubby circa 2005

I met my hubby while we were both working in a bookstore during college. It was a rom/com story for the ages with an Indie Bookstore serving as the backdrop. After graduating, I managed the children’s section at said bookstore until hubby and I got married and started a family (not necessarily in that order). Point is, having worked in a bookstore for years, finding books in a book store is kind of a point of pride with me so I don’t ask for help often, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Potty training = desperate measures indeed.

Anyway, the sales girl helped me quickly and I found exactly what I was looking for. While I had her time, I decided to ask about good chapter books for boys. I know a lot of good ones but not being “in the game” anymore, I figured there was a good chance I was out of the loop and she did have some great suggestions for some newer titles I hadn’t heard of yet (Galaxy Zack is officially on MM’s wish list).

Of course like any good bookseller, we spent awhile chatting about books and general likes and dislikes (somehow we started talking about Doctor Who, because, well, have you met me?) and standing there talking to her and watching her get so passionate about book recommendations reminded me of my years working her exact job. Oh, I miss it.

Those were some of the best years of my young adult life and I LOVED that job – I loved my co-workers and my customers, the smell of strong coffee and the creeky old floors. I loved giving book recommendations and making displays of books I thought would sell well. Of course the job I had was a little different from hers – I worked at an independent book store in a building that used to be a factory that had a restaurant inside with a glass dessert case and a New Age section that sold tarot cards and jewelry. The Indie Bookstore is a dying breed – a magical retail world where you can make your own displays and change your mind about the store layout without getting approval from corporate (though you might need to ask Gloria). From what I’ve heard, the Big Box Stores (also now a dying breed) don’t have that kind of flexibility and freedom. Displays come from corporate and the coffee is from Starbucks.

But still. There are books. And book lovers. And coffee. Some of my favorite things. I sometimes talk about going to work in a bookstore again and being that girl again. But I wouldn’t be QUITE that girl. That girl that I was had the flexibility of working long and varying hours and her boyfriend worked at the store so it kind of was her social life. This girl will want Mothers Hours and won’t budge on that matter. This girl may love and live and breathe books, but she loves her family more.

This girl also has a lot of varying dreams and ideas for the future. I may get a job in a bookstore. I may try to write full time. I may get a job copy editing or try and get a job at the kids’ schools. I may do something else entirely that I haven’t had a chance to dream about.

But if I can find a job where I am surrounded by book lovers, where I can feel a little bit like that girl again, I will be a happy woman indeed.