We All Need A Bigger Umbrella

Harry last page

     Oh Harry, I’ve missed you so!!

Remember this adorable dog?  So sensitive and adventurous is he that within the bindings of these tales harry always seems to start off misunderstood and then with gratitude and appreciation finds his way back home.

I came across this gem recently while cleaning the classroom in which I had the pleasure of working this past quarter. I dusted plastic breech baby in uterus and put her safely next to opposing partner, plastic “engaged” or “head down” baby in uterus. Posters and posters of female everythings found appropriate homes as well as diapers, wipes, pacifiers, laptops, files, more files and cribs. Yes this classroom was a busy one, not a dull moment I guarantee.

Then came the time to organize the books; to stay or to go, those were my questions.  I should have known from the start that this task would send me back hours not forward. Soon I was surrounded by books and the only hope for a clean escape would be wishing I could communicate with the Justice league and be whisked away by the Flash or Wonder Woman (who, by the way, would be a great guest speaker for one of my units next semester on female empowerment).

After a bit of a  panic and becoming sure I was going to be trapped forever in piles of children’s literature for the rest of my days I was reunited with Harry; not Meghan Markle’s redhead, the furry hero of my childhood!

As per usual I was pulled through the portal of time and found myself in the arms of my Grandma Mickey gently crushed in between my three toe-headed cousins; hilarious and adorable in all their blonde glory. Getting into position was never easy mind you; we all needed to have the perfect snuggle position as well as a direct view of the story. We all had very different personalities and we were lucky to start storytime before midnight!  Cousin number one always had to make the perfect design of toothpaste on her brush (which took many tries), and once she got the paste all swirly and beautiful down the drain in bubbles went the masterpiece . Rinse and repeat! Cousin number two was very busy organizing how cousin number three was going to get down from the tree in which she was somehow very stuck;  after thorough analysis of all branches and safe pathways flashlights and direct orders saved the adventurous one from sleeping with the squirrels.  Me? I was the oldest and felt entitled to front row seats; I had the armit nook, in my opinion always the best. Once we all got settled and my grandpa left the room after shaking his head in disbelief at our ridiculousness the story began.

     Harry by the Sea was a favorite. Was it a coincidence, maybe, that all four of us were overlapping shoulders mixing brunette locks with soft silvery yellow learning the lesson of making our world bigger and more inviting so we can share it with the ones we love? I know for a fact that I would not love or care about this book as much if I didn’t have a mouthful of cousin hair and squished limbs while reading it! Harry’s family learned that being without him made them incomplete and sad, so they got a bigger umbrella for everyone to share and enjoy as a family.

As a teacher and healthcare provider it is part of my job to help my students and clients open their metaphorical arms wide and teach the importance of support and community so they are open to and can access help if needed. As parents we have a strong focus on our immediate family unit and home and need to prioritize and organize and sometimes even say no as a means of rest, refocus and survival. I do believe that finding a healthy balance of reaching out AND finding solace and privacy within is important.

When I found this book a few weeks ago I simply felt the timing could not have been more coincidental. We all share this one world together; we need to all work on finding a bigger umbrella.

What good is Shelter and Shade without sharing?