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BY DR. ANDREA PURCELL

Each afternoon Bralio and I go for a walk around our neighborhood. It’s a great way to get out into the sunshine, get our steps in and connect in a different way. All kinds of things come up in conversation. He especially loves anything that has to do with treasure hunting or setting out on a particular mission. For the last few days his mission has been about hunting oranges. He looks for citrus trees that are overflowing over walls and properties hanging down into sidewalks. Then he asks me to lift him up and so he can fill his pockets with oranges. As we stroll along we eat the oranges as a snack. It’s a great way to get a few extra servings of fruit each day. Today he was especially resourceful and carefully selected cargo shorts that had a whopping six pockets. He was excited to fill ALL of his pockets.

We saw many bees buzzing about in the spring flowers, a few butterflies, a lot of hummingbirds, and all types of sidewalk chalk art. He commented on the noise levels in different neighborhoods and the smell of flowers in the air. Then we came upon a group of kids playing on a slip and slide. It looked like it was someone’s birthday. One girl asked Bralio if he wanted a cupcake. “No thanks he replied I’m hunting oranges… cupcakes have a lot of sugar and that hurts your body.”

My eyes almost popped right out of my head! For a kid that loves donuts I couldn’t believe my ears. I was pretty much convinced he so willingly went to church each Sunday because of the donuts.

Hum I thought to myself, some things have begun to sink in. The girl was nice enough and told us that there was a giant orange tree on the next street and he should try his luck there. We walked along keeping our eyes peeled for it. We turned the next corner and whammo there it was, a super saturated tree with oranges just the right height for him.

He was so excited he was nearly shouting about how he would get tons of oranges. I warned him that six oranges were quite a lot to have as a snack on a walk and also that it would be hard to walk with all of those oranges in his pockets. None of that held any relevance.

He waved his arms around impatiently. I lifted him up, he picked the oranges and excitedly filled his pockets. As we walked away gravity began to do its work and soon enough he was walking along with one hand on his waistline and another on the orange he had in his hand. I told him he had better eat some oranges quick or else he would lose his shorts. Not one to lose a good competition, the battle between Bralio and gravity had begun…

What is so amazing to me is what our kids pick up through our words and actions. When he started kindergarten this year I was honestly relieved for many reasons some of them selfish. However right around January I realized that he was in school more than he was with me and that rubbed me the wrong way. I realized that I held a lot less influence in my son’s life than I wanted. I was feeling less like a conductor and more like a second string.  

As I reflected on all of this after our walk, I recognized that one of the blessings in all of this chaos is that we get our son 24/7 for the next five months. Yes, there are moments…and we have ours…but I said to my husband, “Bralio is all ours and we have an opportunity here. We are free to model and teach and shape him the way we want.”

We can design these days and months to be some of the best memories we have as a family. Nestled safely in our quarantine cocoon…and when we emerge…and have no fear we will ALL emerge…we get to turn these really beautiful moments into memories.  So out with the parenting books when we are struggling, out with the home school supplies so we can teach, let’s do some hands-on science experiments, get dirty, pick other people’s oranges, ride some bikes and have some fun!

Wishing You and Yours a Very Happy Easter,

Dr. Purcell
(Catch up on my daily COVID-19 posts HERE)

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