Tuesday, October 11, 2005

If you knew my two-year-old daughter Emily, you would know of her strong fondest for Crayolas. And not just any Crayolas, but her OWN box of Crayolas that she doesn't have to share with her same-age brother Nicholas and sister Hannah. So when something happens to her Crayolas, you know that it will not sit well at all with Emily.

And on this particular evening, Emily happened to break her red Crayola into two pieces. After a few futile attempts of trying to reassemble it into a single Crayola, she turned to me with tears in her eyes. "Daddy, fix it. Daddy, fix it..." Had I been forward-thinking, I would have had an extra box of Crayolas for just such needed replacements. Put the broken Crayola behind my back and bring out a brand new red one; a mystical and magical father to the rescue! But it didn't happen that way...

Emily is not one to be easily distracted with a different colored Crayola, so that tactic didn't work. That left me with only tactic: "Emily, it's okay..." The best I could do was to hold her and say it again... and again...

I have a feeling that this will not be the last time that this will the only response left to share with my children. So much of our life, my friend, is precarious at best. We can never state with any certainty that we'll be around when the evening comes and all the common sense health prevention measures in the world may never keep disease at bay. It's just a fact and journey of life that we will each find ourselves eventually having to say, "It's okay..." And you know what? That's okay.

Having now raised a child through the age of seven, I've accepted the fact that I don't have to know everything and be everything and do everything for my children. Sometimes just being me and just saying, "It's okay; it'll be okay" is the right thing to do. And it's so freeing to allow yourself to say and do just that.

If you haven't yet done so, take the time during those trying and difficult times to say to your friends, family and colleagues, "It's okay." And although you may not know what else to do at that moment, you'll find that you will actually come to believe in what you've said... it will be okay.

As for Emily, she turned to me after a few more tears, smiled and said, "Hello, Daddy." My best guess is that's her way of reassuring me that even though I can't help her any more, it's going to be just fine.


Post Note: Did you know...

  • In 1903, soon after developing them, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith sell the first box of eight Crayola crayons for one nickel. The box includes black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green.
  • During the Great Depression, Binney & Smith hires local farm families to hand-label crayons. Each farm becomes associated with a different color name.
  • Binney & Smith manufactures and distributes its products throughout the world and employs more than 2,600 people. Its creative products are packaged in over a dozen languages!
  • In 1996, ninety-three years after the company made its first crayon, a colorful and historic milestone is reached. The 100 billionth Crayola crayon rolls off the production line at Binney & Smith world headquarters in Easton, Pennsylvania.
  • In 1998, Crayola crayons become part of history when they enter the Smithsonian! Several historical Crayola items, including the legendary 64-count box, are placed on display and added to the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection.
  • Also in 1996, Crayola crayons also get their own 32-cent stamp! The original 1903 eight-color box is honored as part of the United States Postal Service’s "Celebrate the Century" program.
  • The average North American uses up 730 crayons by age 10.
  • Most kids spend an average of almost half an hour a day coloring.
  • Red and blue are kids' two favorite Crayola crayons.
  • Alice Binney came up with the name Crayola, by combing two French words the mean "oily chalk." The name "craie" means "chalk," and "oleaginous" means "oily."
  • Renowned American Gothic artist Grant Wood began his career with a Crayola contest. Wood later commented that winning the contest gave him the encouragement he needed to pursue a career in art.
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