Monday, April 29, 2013

Stuff is Stuff

Last night the two of us had dinner with friends of mine from China.  A non-Jewish seriously Zionist couple - one very large German Shepherd named Shalom, and their first baby is on the way - they travel extensively twice a year;  every trip ends up in Israel no matter what other place may be found on the agenda.  We met many years ago on a group tour of Petra.

This time their trip included Germany, the Holocaust tour of Poland, and Jerusalem.  They had generously bought a small gift for Raphaela from Poland, a whistle shaped like a sparrow which sounds like a bird when you put water inside and blow.  A ceramic whistle.

If you are a mother or father of young children, you can already anticipate the end of this story.

It took all of five minutes at home for the present to be dropped and broken, and much like Humpty Dumpty, all the King's horsemen and all the craft glue in  the world couldn't put it back together again.

I will admit it, inside I felt angry and disappointed. I started thinking, "Why can we not have beautiful and interesting things in the house before they get destroyed?" It reminded me of our cat Harry when he was little, when he wanted to get my attention he would jump on the high shelves and casually watch as anything breakable experienced gravity and smashed into several pieces.

Then I tried to calm myself down on the inside, so I would not yell at Raphaela. I reminded myself that she is only three and a half, that she still has no real sense of physics IE ceramic shatters.  I reminded myself that I love her, and that stuff is stuff, it is people that really count.

I sat down with her and explained that if someone gives you something special, you must be careful with it, because most times if it breaks Mommy cannot fix it. After this particular incident, she may or may not learn that actions and even accidents have consequences.

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