I happened to be in the kitchen a few days ago when one of our house parents was welcoming a 4-year-old home from school.
“How was your day?”
She was preparing his snack, and he was busily sweeping some imaginary pile of crumbs from the kitchen floor. This particular child loves to sweep the floor, loves being praised for being helpful.
“Did you kiss your brain yet?” The house parent asked him.
I looked to the child, at this, since I’d never heard anyone in the house use that phrase, but she said it so naturally that I could tell this was a ritual between the two of them, and I wanted to see what his response would be. He kissed the palm of his hand with the enthusiasm that only 4-year-olds can muster, but then seemed to forget the rest of what he was expected to do. The house parent pointed to her own forehead and prompted him—“Where’s your brain? Kiss your brain.” He slapped his palm to his scalp, made a loud mmmmmwah! kissing noise, and gave the house parent a huge grin. “That’s right!” she said. “You need to kiss your brain to say thank you. That’s how you remember that you’re a smart boy.”
“Yep! I’m a smart boy!”
These are the kinds of moments I remember when I reflect on Mother’s Day this year. I’m grateful for such moments of kindness that pass between our staff and our residents, for their ability to wade patiently through emotional and physical hurts, to recreate family dinners and afternoons at the park in otherwise unusual circumstances. What small moments are you remembering today?