Monthly Archives: December 2016

of course

Recently at Friday Play Shoppe, we’ve read the book, “You Can Do It, Sam” by Amy Hest.

It’s the story of Mrs. Bear and her young son, Sam, who are baking little holiday cakes to deliver to all of their friends on Plum Street.

As they jostle along through the very early snowy morning on Plum Street delivering the cakes, Mrs. Bear stopped at the first house.  “Here we are, Sam.  I’ll wait here and you take the cake.”

“All by myself?” whispered Sam.

“Go, go, go.  You can do it, Sam” said Mrs. Bear, putting her arm around him.

This is the point where I sense the most wide-eyed concern and interest in the listening children’s eyes – concern I think for Sam – can he really do itall alone – could they really do it all alone?

But yes, Sam does do it.  He trudges through the snow at each house they stop at, leaving the special cake at each door.

And when he returned to the truck and his mom, Sam said “I did it!” and Mrs. Bear responded with quiet confidence “of course”.

What a gentle non-preachy, down-t0-earth story this is – a celebration of the small but tender moments in our children’s lives – maybe still in our own lives – that help us grow in confidence and spirit.

Out shopping for a Christmas tree recently, my husband and I were approached by a young employee about 16 or 17 years old, who confidently asked if he could help us.  I took a second look at him – I sensed a hint of familiarity there – and asked him, “Are you Sam?”

He said yes.  This is a Sam I knew from many Play Shoppes ago- from babyhood, toddlerhood, preschool. And like the Sam in the book, I know he’s probably asked the same question to himself and his mom many times over the years – perhaps  even before taking this job.

“All by myself?” and heard his mom say “you can do it Sam!”

And he could.  And so can we all – tell ourselves, tell our loved ones – “you can do it”.

“Of course”.

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make new friends

I believe I’ve said this before – in another year – perhaps another season – but this past Friday Play Shoppers’ visit with our senior resident friends at Bethany St. Joseph’s Care Center was awesome – and it filled my heart with joy.

There’s nothing more magical than seeing these little people, the youngest among us, be able to greet the oldest among us – generously handing out holiday cards and singing songs.

As parents we are very conscientious about getting our children around other children the same age so they can be socialized.  But if we want our children to be truly socialized and to be able to relate, be comfortable and accept people different than themselves, we need to widen the circle from an early age.

I think one of my favorite pictures of our 2-year-old grandson is Theo sitting next to his mom’s grandma – Theo’s great grandma –  who he calls GG – both of them sharing in an animated conversation with each other.   Ninety years between them but no matter – friends!

So – I think this is the perfect season for reaching out and meeting the older folks who live in our neighborhoods – shovel sidewalks, bring them pictures that the children have colored, make some cookies to deliver, check in on them when you’re off to the supermarket to see if they need something, or just share friendly waves as you pass by.

Take that first step – for it’s often that very  first overture that will open a rich and rewarding friendship for you and your family.






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Friday, December 2nd, was National Adoption Day.  I saw a clip on the national news showing many families as they stood before the judge declaring to him that “yes – we want to be a family!”

Wow! It was quite beautiful to see – especially the school-age children and teens who were visibly moved to tears, realizing that they were wanted, that they truly and legally belonged.

And then, locally I came across a drive to collect items for young people aging out of the foster care system, children really, who were not lucky enough to get a “forever family”.  These young people, when they turn 18-years-old, many of them still in high school, are on their own.  And their need for personal items to support their daily living is high.

On the other hand- in the international  news almost daily – families and children, homeless, orphaned, wounded, starving, fleeing from their homes in Aleppo, Syria – fleeing the bombings and the lack of home, food and supplies.

And I was filled with such emotion at these stories – and I realized at this time of year of consumerism, over-eating, and other indulgences too many to cite – how fortunate I am, and the awesome responsibility of this good fortune.

I realize I can’t try and change all the ills in the world, but I can be grateful for what I do have – share what I do have –  reach out and be kind, generous, loving, mindful of the needs and the pain of others.

Because that’s the true holiday spirit anyway, isn’t it?

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