Mom and GraceAt 9pm tonight, my mother will be retired. This is the end of an era: 39 years as a librarian, and she’s finally retiring.

She retired once before. After being a school librarian for 30 years, she “retired” and kept working as the director of the public library all the way up until today: almost 10 years later. The kicker is that she was already the public library director when she left my hometown’s high school librarian position. She had been doing BOTH jobs FULL time while I went through my senior year of high school and most of college. She would work a full day at the high school, and then she would walk across the parking lot to the Nutley Public Library, just a few yards away. She would there until 9pm, then most Saturdays, until after 4 years of these she had her 30 years at school and retired.

This photo is my niece Grace giving her a big hug, so I thought today it would be fitting.

Here is a big hug to my mom: she is nothing less than amazing, and she’s certainly my biggest hero. And also my biggest champion. This is the woman who raised 2 children by herself, on a teacher’s salary, and put us both through college. Went through 2 years of hell while my stepfather was dying of lung cancer, and still got up every day and pushed our little family through it. I went on to get my Masters in her exact same field, and she’s always been my first phone call for professional advice. And life advice. And when I can’t decide what color school bag to get. So when she tells me how it is, who am I to argue?

So I’m feeling a little sad to see this era draw to a close, but mostly crazy over-the-moon excited to see what she’ll do next. Her last retirement project was quite a doozy, after all.