Thursday, December 1, 2016

Grateful Gretchen

OK, California family and friends.  I'm going to ask you for forgiveness before I tell you about our Thanksgiving.  We made a very last minute, impulsive decision to take a very short trip to the Bay Area to spend the holiday with Kevin's family.  Besides his family we told no one except my mother and spent the couple of days only with my in-laws.  I'm so sorry we didn't have time to see anyone else this trip.


We ate a delicious dinner and got to spend some quality time with the cousins and grandparents.  Of course we had to hit a museum while we were there and spent an afternoon at one of our favorite holiday events: the Dickens Fair.

Seriously, I feel terrible even writing this blog post (and that's probably why I waited all week).  I hate that we were so close to so many people we love and couldn't reach out and see you.

Back in the frigid East Coast we enjoyed a breakfast at Ella's school honoring students who exhibit the school's core values: persistence, creativity, wonder and resilience.  I love these values.  We were already pretty proud of our little peanut but getting this honor plus finding out this week that she also made the academic honor roll this quarter makes us a little verklempt.

I think I've mentioned that Holden has been a part of a weekly volunteer "class" (for lack of a better word).  They either go out in the community to volunteer or meet and create things to give to the needy such as toiletry bags or even cupcakes.  The day before Thanksgiving his group got to go to a synagogue on the Upper East Side that was feeding 100 homeless people Thanksgiving dinner.  The week before the kids had made table centerpieces and cards.  Then on Wednesday they got to set all of the tables and decorate for the dinner.

The woman who leads the group always takes time each week to talk to the children about gratitude, being of service to others, and doing good deeds.  She sometimes will read stories with a moral or assign them a task of doing a good deed that week and reporting back to the group.

This week we got to go back to the food bank that we toured a few weeks ago but this time we were able to actually help out by sorting donated bread products and stocking shelves.  It's become one of the most important classes that Holden has taken.  I can already see that he is starting to look at the world a little differently.  He's becoming more aware of those around him and making some comments to show me that he's noticing those less fortunate than we.  I'll gently remind him throughout the week about doing good deeds, no matter how small.

A lesson for all of us parents out there: we can (and should) teach gratitude, compassion and awareness.


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