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Stepping Into Days Gone By

January 5, 2010
Times Observer
BY MARY ELLEN CARLSON, HERITAGE HOUSE CHILDCARE & LEARNING CENTER

Dedicated to my “Great” nieces and nephews: Tyler, Emma, Logan, Ashton, Camryn and Graham.

What is it about walking into a house where a newborn resides? For me, it is a feeling of euphoria that is hard to describe. If I could place the feeling into a description I would have to write a poem or song that would make you also fall into a state of well-being. As a mother of three children that are now grown, I hope that feeling never escapes me.

I enter the warm domicile, greeted by Sojo, the family golden retriever, walk by the dog dish, up the stairs by Sojo’s bed and into the kitchen. My niece, Melissa has my new great nephew, Graham, cuddled in her arms. Angel face, drowsy eyes and soft baby skin in a cozy sleeper gets handed to my mother, Graham’s great grandma. Mom sits and holds Graham watching him sleep. The scene makes me catch my breath.

I have always found the ability of a newborn to blissfully sleep through the action and noise surrounding them mesmerizing.

Whenever I make my way into Melissa and Mark’s home, I am met with the exuberance that goes with having three other children ranging from toddler to school age. It is a special treat to watch a fraction of their story played out before me.

Emma, the princess in this story, is always attired as a dancer, princess or fairy. This is most fitting while residing now with three brothers! We have a few minutes of coloring together in her giant size-coloring book while sitting on the floor. She lets me know which page is okay for me to color; I am provided the opportunity to finish a page that has already been touched by a “young artist” that resides in this castle. I watch as she so meticulously organizes our space and puts color to palette.

Prince Ashton awakens from his nap. Melissa brings her sleepy eyed and subdued two-year-old bundle down the stairs. He snuggles in Melissa’s arms as he slowly awakes with the reassurance that his world is familiar and safe. Soon his small hand encompasses the crayon that will add color to the giant coloring book canvas. He and Emma chat as she imparts guidance as only an older sister can.

The pleasant chaos continues as we hear the rumbling of the school bus at the end of the driveway. The big yellow transportation capsule delivers Prince Tyler and his neighborhood friend. They enter the house conversing with Melissa, when Tyler disappears to his room only to return in his football jersey and comfortable pants. Cowboy, football, basketball, soccer, baseball player are all in his repertoire. He can always step into character at a moments notice.

Tyler is hungry and inquires about a snack. I enter the kitchen with Melissa while she takes out identical cups and straws for milk and a Tupperware container of chocolate chip cookies. I notice the cupboard with many pictures of small people, obviously the cousins and friends of the small people that reside in this castle. I look and wonder just how all those faces are fitting into their stories as I stand there observing a page in this one. The cookies and milk are taken to the child size table and chairs in the playroom where all those soon to partake are smiling.

Mark comes home from work delivering a tender greeting to a tired but peaceful partner and three sets of arms wrapped around him welcoming him to his castle. This king of great stature bends down and gives his precious baby a kiss on the head. Graham tries to open his eyes to at least acknowledge his daddy’s presence. I realize it is almost time for supper and for the next page to turn. I remove baby Graham from my mother’s embrace and place him back in his mommy’s arms. I experience a glimpse of days gone by when infants and young children filled our home with crazy-captivating-peace.

So to the queen of this castle, Melissa, I say thank you for letting me share a page of your story. It always brings to light the incredible importance of how we as parents can create a peaceful home among daily chaotic moments. Most of all, thank you to all of you that take on the monumental task of raising children and choose to make him/her feel like the princess or prince in your life.

“As we get older it seems we lose faith in our ability to express ourselves as purely. Little children have a way of reminding us of our original purpose: joy.” –Marie Osmond

Mary Ellen Carlson has extensive experience in Elementary Education. Before assuming the duties as Director of Heritage House Childcare & Learning Center, she taught at Panama Central School, owned and operated her own home day care, and was the Project Coordinator of “Write Team,” a grant-funded project at the James Prendergast Library.

Mrs. Carlson earned her B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Curriculum Development/Elementary Education from SUNY Fredonia. She has also continued her education through training in sign language, child abuse prevention, and writing.

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