The Communication Center – Messages of Love, part 2

  • by Sonya Shoptaugh ON December 4, 2012

    When my daughter was almost two years old and toddling about, chatting non-stop, I felt it was time to create a communication center for her, something to have as part of her daily life at home.

    The space started out simple – a table, a chair, a lamp and a few implements for making messages. She gravitated towards the area immediately and our daily enjoyment of making and exchanging messages had begun.

    Over time the area has evolved and now it he place we all go to find tape, scissors, paper, envelopes, stickers – anything we might need to make notes for each other, something we like doing regularly.

    Mailboxes were put up in her studio in order to have a place to put the messages – offering both the sender and receiver a location for enthusiasm. AC has her own mailbox, and my husband and I share a box. There is a certain smile AC has when she delivers a message to our box and is waiting for me to go get it. She knows I will dance around with joy having gotten something from her. (I love getting mail.)

    Recently, we added a family member to our household – Emma, the fish.

    One evening while AC was feeding her, she said, “Wait! Emma needs a mailbox!”

    To be a part of our family means you need to have a place to receive cards, made with cheerful expectation of giving someone joy.
    Now that Emma was a beloved, she too needed a place to receive expressions of love in written form.

    I asked, “Where would you like her mailbox to be located?” AC looked at me as if I had asked a dumb question, but she responded nonetheless. “Downstairs where the mailboxes are.”

    Mama: How is Emma going to get her mail?
    AC: We’ll carry her downstairs. Would she like that?
    Mama: Well, probably not.
    AC: Then we’ll make her a mailbox for her up here, right by her home so she won’t have to move to get her mail.

    She paused, many thoughts appearing to arrive at the same time. Then she continued.

    AC: How will she get her mail if she can’t leave her tank? I know! I’ll give it to her. But she probably won’t like getting WET mail, will she? No. She wouldn’t like that. I’ll hold it up for her. Does she know how to read yet? It’s okay if she doesn’t. I’ll read it to her.

    And with that, AC went to her communication center and began to make Emma a mailbox. She thought about what colors Emma would like, aesthetics being an important component for her in showing she cares. She thought about the right size to make it – “not too big, not too small, just the right size for a Betta fish.” After she completed the mailbox, she ran upstairs to show it to Emma, saying, “I hope she likes it. I hope she likes it. Do you think she will like it?”

    AC showed Emma her new mailbox and explained to her that if she needed help retrieving her mail, and reading it, she was there to assist her. Emma swam over and seemed to listen intently as AC talked to her about the kinds of messages she would be receiving.

    “And it is okay if you don’t know what it says because I will read it to you.” As I heard her talk to her fish with such kindness, I thought about the children at the school in DC where I worked and how they also had come up with the strategy of reading their messages to Coco, the cat, when they realized he might not know how to read. There is a beauty inherent in children’s ways of understanding communication, something profound and deeply empathetic. I smile as my daughter races back downstairs to make Emma a birthday card.

    “And we need to make her a cake, too, Mama, to go with the card!” Of course we do…

  • Comments(4)

    Would love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to comment.
    • Marianne
      December 5, 2012 @ 2:21 am

      How wonderful. Fish cakes. With candles, I assume ?

    • Sheila
      December 14, 2012 @ 3:01 am

      Sonya – That was great! Ava was always so caring and loving to everything or anyone that she came encountered with even as a young toddler as I’ve known her to be and shes just growing more and more!!! Ava is part of who she is because of her great parents too – dont ever sell yourself short my dear! She has two extrodinary and talented parents!

    • Jacalyn
      November 1, 2016 @ 3:54 pm

      When you think about it, that’s got to be the right anwrse.

    • sekundarmarkt lebensversicherung
      November 5, 2016 @ 7:19 am

      "Playing around on your maps, I found Jefferson County,Mississippi to be the county with the highest % black in the US (estimated at 85%). I looked up info on the web about it and found that, lo and behold, it has the highest obesity rate in the US, one of the lowest per capita incomes in the US ($9709), one of the highest bank card delinquency rates (6.21%) and a mass migration rate away from the city. What are the odds of that?"It's also the capital for out of state lawyers to file class-action lawsuits on stuff like cigarettes and asbestos, which give them the tile of the "Jackpot Justice" capital.

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