Maria has always had a generous heart. When she was as young as two, she loved to take presents to her daycare teachers and bring in treats for all of her friends to eat along side of her. I remember one time at Christmas when I had made stockings full of goodies. One of the goodies was cookies – Maria’s favorite. When I gave the stockings to her to present to her teachers, she looked at the cookies. She looked up at me and asked “are any for me?” I told her that all of the cookies were made for her teachers. She swallowed deeply and said no more. She took the stockings into them and gave them a huge hug putting aside the cookies she was missing out on in favor of the thrill of giving.
Then there is Mario…. Jon and I stood aghast the day we took Mario into school with his Timbit donuts and he refused to share any with his friends or his teachers. And he not only refused, he was rather mean about it shoving people away from him and holding the donuts so close to him that you would have thought they were gold. We explained to him how important it was to share because it made others happy, and in turn, made you happy. He looked at us like we were insane. Maria tried to explain the importance of sharing, too, by taking a different approach. She went after his interests by telling him if he did not share, they others would not share with him. Still nothing.
But today, we had a major breakthrough. A succession of acts of sharing. First, we headed into daycare this morning with ten Timbits and a sleeve of crackers (yeah, please avoid the commentary on the breakfast selection). When Mario strolled into class, his class mates swarmed around him and his Timbit box begging for a donut. Mario stood paralyzed. The teacher asked the piranhas to step back so Mario could breathe. Then Mario announced that he would pass out donuts and crackers to his friends. He handed out Timbits first and then crackers to the remaining friends. I praised his generosity and he beamed a smile my way.
After we ate dinner tonight, we made some more of our Zoku pops. As the kids licked them, I realized I had forgotten to return a red box movie from two nights ago so I made them throw on their coats and head to the car. On the way out, Maria lost half of her popsicle. She wailed and pointed to the ground. She continued to cry all the way to the car and I continued to try to console her. As she stood in the car, Mario got in his seat and lifted his arm up with popsicle in hand. ‘Maria, you can have my popsicle.” I felt like the heavens opened up. The world shifted on its axis. Maria and I both looked at each other in awe. She accepted his offer gladly since he had barely licked his at the time. I buckled him in his seat and whispered in his ear how proud I was of him.
That same beaming smile washed over his face.