Now that I think about it 30 years later, it was funny, but it wasn’t at the time. My first son had a hard time accepting the fact that he had to share his home with his little sister. When they were both very young my daughter came running into house screaming and crying. I asked her what was wrong, but she couldn’t speak. I interrogated her brother. He said that he took a board and put it across a log and told his sister to stand on one end. He then climbed on top of the dog house and jumped onto the other end of the board and she went flying. I was furious. I yelled at him and asked why he would do such a thing. He said, “But, you wouldn’t believe how high she went!”
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TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.. « Continue reading »
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Recently, my 7-year-old daughter made a mailbox out of paper and taped it to the outside of her room. I began using this as an opportunity to send her notes of love and encouragement. So, at various times of the day, without her seeing me, I would sneak a note into her mailbox. That night, I put in a note for her to find in the morning. I awoke the next morning with my daughter jumping on my bed saying, “How did you do it Mommy? I got a letter from you in the night!”
Excited, she busied herself in making a paper mailbox for me, taping it to the outside of my room. And the written communication began in earnest. Notes of love continued through the week.
Two days ago, I bought her a small toy while we were out shopping together. We came home and after supper, she quickly disappeared saying, “Don’t come into my room, Mommy.” Knowing that she was working on some little project, I busied myself washing the dishes and cleaning up. Excitedly, my daughter then appeared saying, “There’s a letter in your mailbox!” And as we went to my mailbox together, I could see a rolled up piece of blue paper sticking out.
Unrolling the paper, I read her crayoned message: “Dear Mommy, I love you. Thank you for the toy. But just becuse you got me a toy dose not mane I love you more than I did be for. I could never tell you how much I love you.”
Tears welled up in my eyes as my precious girl flung her arms around me in a big hug.
As I stood there enjoying the embrace of my daughter, I was reminded that our Heavenly Father also receives such joy when we offer our love to Him with the excitement and simplicity of a child.
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Eighteen years ago I stood looking at you—fresh-born—through the big glass window in the hospital nursery, watching the nurses try to count your tiny toes. Minutes old, you were bright-red-screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs unbounded life, squirming and kicking in every direction—quite a challenge to those toe-counting nurses. How I wanted to reach through the window, to be closer to you as you celebrated your newfound freedom. From behind the glass, I breathed a promise: I would never stand in the way of your freedom. « Continue reading »
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It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick..
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies..’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey &Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven.
Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog.. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by…
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.
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What do you allow, as gate-keepers if you will, to put daily into your child’s body? This is fully, 100%, your choice, your responsibility, your failure if you are not actively choosing wisely. As parents, we tend to claim God’s protection over our children, but God never intended for us to blindly follow the world in any way, no, not one aspect of our lives. I am noticing a failure among us to educate, and continue to educate ourselves about anything and everything regarding these children given to us for a short time that we are responsible for nourishing. He intended for us to use discernment, use His teaching, to bring us to an educated understanding of what is best for us. This is not happenstance. This is not a lottery to see if we “get” healthy kids. You play “the” role, not just “a” role, in providing for these children as the Lord has provided for you. « Continue reading »
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Let us labor for an inward stillness–
An inward stillness and an inward healing.
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks to us and we wait
In singleness of heart that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do His will and do that only
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
« Continue reading »
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First day of school was this week! I am always excited to pick up the kindergarteners after their first day. Not only do I get the honor of experiencing their excitement but I usually see children that went to my school at one time that now are in “big school.” Monday I got a thrill when I saw a kindergartener that had gone to my school from when he was 2 yrs to when he turned 4. He was so excited to see me and with the biggest eyes ever, he said “Mrs. Jami, I thought I would never see you again” and gave me the tightest hug. I teared up as this exchange reminded me as early childhood teachers we are not just preparing them for “big school” we are building relationships and memories that don’t go away when they leave us. Our time with them is their first experience with being in school and my hope is that I am providing wonderful memories for my little friends as well as a love of school that last forever even if they “never see me again.”
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If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could be better changed in ourselves.
– C.G. Jung
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Like coal miners, parents plunge deep into dark and untrammeled spaces, searching for nuggets of goodness and truth along the way. And sometimes, like coalminers, we get lost. We hit a dead end. And the canary chirping happily in it’s swinging cage, goes silent.
This summer, I lost my way as a parent. Between moving and leading a top-to-bottom renovation of our new apartment, between writing grant applications and taking care of legal issues related to my nonprofit, I took a few wrong turns, caught up in the To Do’s and Didn’t Do’s scratched onto my notepad. Thankfully I have not one, but two canaries on my shoulders. When they stopped tweeting, I knew it was time to pause and reevaluate. « Continue reading »
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