Monthly Archives: July 2020

a smooth ride

From my home desk windows, I get to look out at my world these days – my neighborhood.

Across the street from where I sit is construction taking place on a new house to be built.

In the process this summer, the part of the street immediately in front of our house, about a 30 by 20 foot patch was dug up to lay pipes extending to the new house.  And what was left was  sand and stones and bumps.

But last week, more trucks, machines, and workmen arrived to repair this dusty patch we’d grown used to.

And so now – there lies a beautiful  patch of smooth black asphalt, resting in between the older bumpier roads on either side.

I was not the only one to notice and appreciate this however.  By dinner time, the patch was dry and looking out my window, I saw the 8-year-old neighbor boy on his bike – gliding around and around this small but beautiful smooth patch of road – appreciating the even ride it provided.

Next he exchanged his bike for his scooter, again making the rounds, treating both to this enjoyable experience.  I could see the contented expression on his face.  This was his space right now at this time – and it was definitely a great ride.

And isn’t that what we are all trying to find- to anticipate – in our homes, our work places, with our families and friends, personally – in this challenging time?

We’re all looking for and appreciating the smooth parts of life – no matter how small – that bring us contentment, security and joy even as we meet the bumpy ones on either side.

Here’s to kids on bikes who know where the smooth ride lies.

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a bright light

Over the years I’ve been at The Parenting Place as a Parent Educator, my greatest joys are the connections I’ve made with families.

I surprise myself sometimes  when out of the blue, a family from years ago pops into my head, and I remember something about them that was special, that was meaningful, that was funny, that was endearing.

I guess that’s what it means to hold those memories, those families, those children in your heart – for that’s where they remain.

Ben was the youngest of two brothers who came to Play Shoppe 24 years ago.  In and out, over the years, both these boys and their families have been in my heart.  And today my heart is heavy from the loss of this bright, sensitive young man in the prime of his life.

And my vision that I hold is a young toddler lovingly cuddling on his mama’s lap – a preschooler atop his father’s strong shoulders – and the stories in between then and now that have been shared.

A few nights ago, after dark, I was out in the backyard with Tootsie and saw a magnificent scene.  There were more fireflies than I can remember ever seeing  at one time – each one’s light flickering its own luminous response.

I was really moved by that experience.  It seemed so momentous – so celestial.

Hearing about this special young man’s death today, I can’t help but think of Ben and his brother, his mom, and his dad and know for sure that Ben’s special bright light will never dim in their memory.

Hug your children, laugh with them, and be kind to one another.


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Would you rather?

I started thinking recently about children and how they begin to share their unique opinions about things – about likes and dislikes, about rather this or that.

I remember doing this – kind of like a game – with children – and I was always surprised by the power of it.

It would be simple questions.

Would you rather eat a piece of cake or a cupcake”  Would you rather go to a movie or stay home and read a book? Would you rather give a speech or write a paper?  Would you rather play hop scotch or kickball? Would you rather take a shower or a bath?  Would you rather go on a bike ride or take a hike?

The power comes from being asked – and then being listened to.  In my memory, I recall some children changing their answer after hearing a friend choose another.

Over time though – they learned that different answers are personal, and they don’t have to be the same as your best friends.

Yet you can still be best friends.

It’s a good start – a positive fun way to empower a child’s choices to be his/hers and to recognize that we can have different opinions, likes and dislikes, yet still value each other as friends.

Never too early to learn that!

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a growth spurt

Recently a grandma shared with me her Covid  Zoom relationships with her absent grand-daughters.

She was giving them cooking lessons.

They were all connecting (even though in different households), learning, laughing, and eating whatever they made – omelets and memories –  at the same time.

Now this same grandma actually has one of her grand-daughters – thirteen-years-old, staying with her for the summer.  Last I heard, she was teaching her how to clean a bathroom!

At the right time, with a fun spirit – our children (or grand-children) are open to gaining new skills – some “let me show you” moments.

Another sharing – a young girl who just turned six years old – surprised her mom who often, in a hurry, just dumps the whole load of clothes from the dryer onto her bed.  This young industrious child has taken to carefully folding all the laundry and then … even delivering it to its rightful owner’s room.

This I was told was a skill – the skill of folding items – also learned from her own grandmother.

I guess my point is – chores aren’t chores unless we make them so.  Often I think, as parents, we assign the most simple (read boring) jobs to our children – if we do so at all.

Expectations – sharing – inclusion – enjoying – trust – reaching our children at the right age – starting earlier than we might think to – making it positive, casual, connecting and personal.

It’s not like we’re handing our young children a Chore List.  It’s more like partnering – and sharing a skill that boosts their confidence.

“Let me show you how to…” “I bet you’re able to pour the milk now”, “sweep the floor”, “wipe up the bathroom sink”, “maybe even vacuum”.

“Want to try?”

And then – watch their competence develop.

A true growth spurt in so many ways.




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