They've been coming since the beginning of time, and this week will be their final storytime. They're moving to Chicago.
I know our friendship will continue, but can't deny the sadness I feel when I think of not having them regularly at storytime. Looking out into the audience and seeing their faces always gave me extra motivation!
I first met Susan & Nile last June when storytime began at the Parkway. This was back in the day when our group was small enough that each week we would go around the room and introduce ourselves. From our first meeting, I fell in love with them!
Anyone who knows this pair can confirm how Susan (on her own) lights up the room with her beaming smile and warm personality, but with Mr. Blue-Eyes in tow, you can't help but feel happier around them!
Because they lived a few blocks away from the cafe (and attended every possible story hour within a 10 mile radius!), they would stroller it to Tuesdays at Ten regularly. On the way, Susan would try to keep Nile awake so that he'd catch his morning nap on the return trip home. I can only imagine what techniques she must have used; Susan is the Mary Poppins of mothers, truly!
She always has a song up her sleeve, or a bottle of bubbles, or a Ziploc full of finger puppets, or a random rubber farm animal, or an assortment of tiny carpet swatches to entertain Nile (and any other children in their presence). She had us over for a playdate once in which we roasted marshmallows in her fireplace and made S'mores. She doesn't let below-zero weather (that's caused school closings) prevent her from bundling Nile up for a trip to the library. Midwestern can-do spirit! She's showed up at my house equipped with a tent, big wands of bubbles and a refill of bubble fluid (in case anyone spilled). She makes and distributes May Day baskets! Susan - always prepared and always ready to have fun.
And then there's Nile! He's social and curious, sometimes intently focused, other days playful and carefree. As long as he wasn't too busy investigating his mother's ears or practicing his fine motor skills with a fork, he'd greet me each time with a smile and a hug.
My favorite memory of him is one winter morning we shared when he sat on my lap for a full hour while I chatted with Susan. Granted this was before he began walking, but nonetheless, not one wiggle or moment of discontent - just a nice, warm bundle of baby happily hanging out for a SOLID HOUR!
What a year with Susan & Nile. We've been so fortunate to have them as regulars and as friends. Some lucky story hour in the Chicago metropolitan area stands to inherit two exceptional human beings.
So best of luck, Susan & Nile, as you begin a new chapter in your lives. I look forward to the next time we are together again!
Reminds me of the Jim Gill song we used to sing...
"We clap our hands when we get together.
Clap our hands to celebrate!
We clap our hands when we get together.
My friends and I can hardly waaaaaaaaaait!"