Shiloh Sociability

March 10, 2012

“‘I know you want a dog, Marty,’ Ma says to me on Thursday. She’s sitting at the kitchen table with cardboard boxes all around her, folding a stack of letters and putting them in envelopes. Ma gets work to do here at home anytime she can. ‘I wish we had the money so every one of you kids could have a pet. But with Grandma seeming to need more care, we just don’t, and that’s that.’
I nod. Ma knows me better’n I know myself sometimes, but she don’t have this straight. I don’t want just any dog. I want Shiloh, because he needs me. Needs me bad.” (Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000,p 30).

When I was a little girl, I certainly looked forward to my birthday each year. Made more distinctive to me because mine fell a day after Aunt Bernice’s on the calendar, it always was a day when I felt special, and I was fortunate to have parents who understood the importance of the day to a young child. Because I can still remember the joy of seeing my beautifully wrapped gifts (Aunt Bernice was the gift wrapping queen) that were just for me and for no one else, my guess is that we never grow too old or too “mature” to lose the longing for this personal affirmation. And I’m thinking that it doesn’t have to come to us only on a birthday. Whenever this kind of individual attention brushes up against us with our names written all over it, it’s captivating and wonderful…..which is why there are 4 fresh daffodils (2 per person) upstairs in the bathroom window, and 4 chocolate chip cookies (2 of 2 different kinds) lying on the dining room table and 2 small wire baskets filled with Hersheys kisses next to the Simply Bed & Bread welcome card in Emily’s Room. Our guests coming in today are celebrating two years together: a theme of “Two.” I can’t put her name on the card that is also waiting for the couple who is arriving because I don’t know it yet, but hopefully, they’ll both be warmed by the personal gifts of The Twos that have their “names” written all over them in different ways, without the words, but with the welcome that is waiting as well.


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