Tag Archives: children

Language of the imagination

“ ‘They are all beasts of burden in a sense,’ Thoreau once remarked of animals, ‘made to carry some portion of our thoughts.’ Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech.” ― Rebecca Solnit I’m not sure I understand …

Continue reading

In the company of children

“Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.” ― Robert Lynd This quote sounds charming, but I couldn’t help but laugh a little to recall how exhausted Jeff and I used to be during the years when Santa would visit our sons.  It always …

Continue reading

An act of recollection

“The Polar Express was the easiest of my picture book manuscripts to write… Once I realized the train was going to the North Pole, finding the story seemed less like a creative effort than an act of recollection. I felt, like the story’s narrator, that I was remembering something, not making it up.” — Chris …

Continue reading

Share to the full

“Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us…” — Winston Churchill, in his Christmas Eve message of …

Continue reading

Unintentionally

“Small kindnesses often, unintentionally, produce the biggest payoffs.” ― Richard Paul Evans Sometimes people give us gifts that they don’t even realize they are giving us.  Here’s my memory of one such gift, an intangible expression of an all-too-unusual kind of love. Because my father has always been a good sport about being teased, all …

Continue reading

Consolation brought me joy

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” — Psalm 94:19 Here in the northern hemisphere, December is the month of consolation, when the cold and decay of nature’s landscape are offset by the joys of celebration and gratitude.  Today we thank you for the cheer and solace of your kind thoughts, …

Continue reading

Children and dogs

“Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.” — Harry S Truman In fact, I’d say they are even more necessary. I’m so grateful for them! One year ago today: Unknown blessings Pasha, this will be our first Thanksgiving without you.Now and always, we miss …

Continue reading

Merry October!

UPDATE – scroll down for photos of Halloween fun in our Alexandria neighborhood! “October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins…. Merry October!” — Rainbow Rowell I can’t remember what year it was when I carved the jack-o-lantern pictured above, but it’s probably representative of what they …

Continue reading

A child in every one

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight make me a child again just for to-night! ~ Elizabeth Akers Allen There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.— Robert Brault Perhaps no holiday brings back more childhood memories than Halloween.  The festivities of …

Continue reading

The simplest toy

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” — Sam Levenson There are colorful toys, singing toys, funny toys, educational toys, old-fashioned toys, and toys that wear out quickly.  Grandparents are all of the above.  Every child should have at least one or two – hopefully more!  If your child …

Continue reading

Not a child

“My dog is not a child substitute, according to its pediatrician.” — Rita Rudner On a recent weekend visit, Drew and Megan were laughing about their having unintentionally referred to Grady as “Pasha” a couple of times.  I laughed too, but before the weekend was over, I had done it myself.  It’s an easy mistake to …

Continue reading

The world’s best teachers

“Children and animals are the world’s best teachers– but very few adults really want to be educated.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Educators have long known that learning is optimal when the lessons are engaging and fun.  What better teachers, then, than animals and children?  I hope there are more adults wanting this sort of education than …

Continue reading

Do not cease to play

“We do not cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play.” — George Bernard Shaw Everybody who needs more fun time, raise your hands.  OK, that’s settled…we need to make more time  for play! Of course, when I say “play” I’m not talking about watching TV, or even playing “Angry …

Continue reading

Something absolutely new

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” — Rajneesh (Osho) As most readers know, I normally schedule these posts well in advance, usually by about two weeks.  However, today I am making an exception and …

Continue reading

Carry your childhood with you

“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”  — Tom Stoppard Here it is: photographic evidence that a lot of things about me haven’t changed in nearly half a century.  I still love cats.  I still love yellow.  I still wear my hair in a bun often (no wisecracks about librarians here).  And the camera, well, …

Continue reading

You wouldn’t be ashamed

“So live that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.” — Will Rogers We don’t have a family parrot, but we have something a bit more risky: a son with an exceptional auditory memory (which tested at the level of a 13-year-old when he was in kindergarten) and a …

Continue reading

A big journey

“Childhood isn’t just something we ‘get through.’ It’s a big journey, and it’s one we’ve all taken. Most likely, though, we’ve forgotten how much we had to learn along the way about ourselves and others.” — Fred Rogers One of the most sobering things about being around children is the realization that everything we do …

Continue reading

More than a hundred

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” — George Herbert Watching someone fight bravely the battles Jeff has fought these past 9 months, it’s easy to get overly sentimental about him.  Yet I think I can say without exaggeration that I have never known a man more devoted to his wife and children than …

Continue reading

After ecstasy

“After ecstasy, the laundry.” — Zen saying Perhaps no quote can so succinctly capture the experience of parenthood, especially in its early stages.  The unsurpassed joy of holding a newborn baby is quickly tempered by the grinding realities of sleep deprivation, miscellaneous messes to clean up and a never-ending pile of laundry to be done.  Yet there is joy even …

Continue reading

Memory is a child

“Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.” — Pierce Harris Memory is nothing if not selective in what it retains.  Hence five people may truthfully give five different accounts of the same event.  Yet some memories …

Continue reading

New possibilities

“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” — Stuart Brown, MD If you have a favorite hobby, sport or other recreational activity, why not schedule some time for play this week? On the other hand, if you don’t …

Continue reading

A happy talent

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson Sometimes we confuse recreational activities with play, but the two are not always linked.  It’s possible to turn recreation– especially organized and scheduled pursuits– into just another task on our to-do list.  It’s also possible to play while engaged in duties that  most people …

Continue reading

So much faster

“They outgrow us so much faster than we outgrow them.” – Jodi Picoult Drew and Grady flew in to see us on Matt’s birthday. I had not seen Grady in nine months, and during that time he went from a somewhat precocious four year old to a very mature five year old. His birthday is …

Continue reading

Bursting the bounds

Because today’s quote is long, I’m going to save it for the end and try to keep my comments relatively short. I found myself unable to find any part of the passage that could be cut out into a short sentence or two. In addition to sharing a birthday with each other, Jeff and I …

Continue reading

Geniuses

“A certain group of geniuses can easily learn even the world’s most difficult languages: they’re called babies.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Are you bilingual, or (even more impressive) do you speak several languages fluently? If so, I envy you. I’ve always wished that I could communicate in many different languages. I suppose it’s because I like to …

Continue reading