Be Thankful for Kids

The last week has been challenging for many of us. I will not deny that I feel like I have been walking in soup all week. Trump’s election utterly deflated me. If you are a Trump supporter, I apologize, but this latest installment is not going to appeal to your tastes.

As the world grappled with the revelation that Trump had won, many friends and acquaintances struggled with how to talk to their children about this unwelcome turn of events. I myself realized that I had shared way too much with my kids about my views of both candidates. To put it simply, I had painted one as an angel and one as the devil, and the devil had won. I knew my son, being only 4-years old, would not be phased; but I also knew my daughter, who is 11, would be terrified.

be-thankful-for-our-kidsI looked into her eyes the morning of November 9th 2016 and I saw hope and excitement and expectation. I would be darned if I was going to steal those from her. Children deserve us to frame the world in a positive light for them, otherwise why on earth would they want to grow up? I knew I had to inspire my daughter that the world was still a good place, with good and kind people in it. And then I realized I was not only trying to inspire my daughter, I was trying to inspire myself, otherwise, why bother getting out of bed tomorrow, or the next day, or ever?

I have spent the last week forcing myself to find optimism and hope and a silver lining. I won’t lie; it has been a difficult task. It has been made easier, I must say, by the presence of my children. My children, who can drive me nuts on any given day, are also my most grounding and inspiring allies. With Thanksgiving a few days away, I would like to propose that we all take a minute to be thankful for our children. Yes, they can utterly derail our career paths and our ambitions and they can drain us of everything that makes us, us. But like it or not, they are here to stay and when we are not feeling too tired, when the sun shines and the magnetic forces conspire to put us in a reasonably good mood, we are able to appreciate those pint sized human beings in all their ridiculous, gorgeous, glory. And so, in celebration of Thanksgiving, here is my ode to children, mine and yours:


They come to us in different ways,
Some from the belly and some on a plane,
With gurgles and googoos and gagas galore
They coo in our ears and we just want to hear more.
They crawl and then walk and then run and then jump
Sometimes they fall down and get a big bump
And we hold them and love them and say “dear dear”
And they hold us and love us and want us to stay near.
School beckons and endless lessons to learn
For understanding and freedom they yearn and they yearn.
They go up through the ranks, adding language and math,
And hopefully some skills to help them on their path,
To mature and grow up, to move out of the nest,
They are desperate to go, and we do our very best,
To encourage and nudge them gently along,
While behind closed doors, we try to stay strong.
For we know we are losing our greatest creations,
Folded into our kids, are all our hopes and aspirations.
So be kind to your kids, hug them daily, a lot,
They are the guardians of your innocence, your dreams,
They are your lot.

Happy Thanksgiving! In case you need a little Thanksgiving treat for your kids, we have delicious milk chocolate turkeys from Madelaine (insanely delicious chocolate) and The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. Cheers!



Celebrating Halloween 2016

I have always had mixed feelings about Halloween.  I come from the UK where it was really not a big deal when I was growing up. I don’t recall ever being bought a costume or a cute little basket to carry my candy in. No siree. For me and my brothers and sisters it was sheets stolen from the linen closet and cloaks made of repurposed tablecloths.  There were no houses lit by Jack-0-Lanterns (I had no idea what this was prior to my move to the US) or pathways lined with ghosts and ghouls.  If you walked up to a neighbor’s house you were lucky if you found a light on and somebody home and willing to open the door.  I recall getting whatever they might have handy at that moment, an apple, a hot cross bun, or sometimes a bag of crisps (AKA chips).  Rarely did I actually get sweets (AKA candy).

You can imagine my surprise at the spectacle I witnessed my first year living in the US.  It was 2002 and I lived in a high-rise apartment building in Long Island City, NY. Apartment 7F had never had so many visitors.  Over the course of an evening we greeted princesses and pirates, witches and ghosts, Mickey Mouse and bumblebees, Super Mario Brothers and dinosaurs.  An endless parade of snotty kids pushed forward by parents with hands raised to grab their loot.  And I smiled and I said “Happy Halloween” and then closed the door and rolled my eyes, a little disturbed and a smidge disgusted.

I had an issue with the physical act of Trick-Or-Treating.  I mean, do we really want to live in a society where kids are encouraged to show up at other peoples’ doors, with hands held aloft, begging for candy?  And if you don’t cooperate, you might end up with toilet paper all over your garden or eggs smashed on your windows?

Hmm, and then something happened. I had my own kids.  And boy, did I change my tune!  My daughter’s first year, she was a strawberry; I remember that.  And my son’s first year he was a bumblebee; I remember that too. The rest are all a blur to me, but with each year that has passed my bar humbug attitude towards Halloween has withered.

I see families, moms and dads leaving work early to get home to their excited kids, to get dressed up and go about the neighborhood.  I see happy faces, not only on the kids skipping around town, but on those handing out the candy, from the young to the old, they enjoy giving this gift of a treat, to friends, to neighbors, and to strangers.  I see communities coming together for one evening, setting aside their political or religious differences, leaving their troubles behind, to celebrate together the wonder of childhood and the simple joy that a piece of candy can bring.   And in the elderly neighbors that open their doors and smile so sweetly, I see loneliness pushed aside for one beautiful evening.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. It is a holiday for families.  But Halloween, I have come to love too.  Halloween is a holiday for communities.  And that is a lovely thing.

For all your costumes and Halloween Treats & Tricks, come to Little Pickles and let’s make our community stronger this year, by making it the most fun and memorable Halloween ever.