When I was a little girl, I had a cherished stuffed dog who I imagined could fly with his brown, floppy ears. One day, I was at a department store with my mother and mistakenly left the dog in a dressing room. Of course, neither of us realized it until after we left the store. At home, I waited panic stricken, as my mother made phone calls to the Lost and Found, and several store managers. I never saw my little dog again, but I imagined that he found his way to the toy section, and lived there happily with new friends.
There was another childhood friend of mine, a stuffed bear named Theodore. He had the most compelling black eyes and pudgy tummy. If ever a stuffed animal was "real," Theodore was. But whoever created my little bear, made a terrible and seemingly permanent mistake. The black line of his mouth was sewn into a frown. No matter what I did, tea parties, outdoor picnics, a doll house mansion, Theodore would never be happy. It broke my heart so much, I asked my grandma (handy with a needle and thread) if there was any way she could fix it. In no time at all, she had performed a magical surgery on my bear. When she handed him back to me, for the first time, Theodore smiled up at me. And I smiled back.
There are many lessons to be learned about happiness as a child and from a child. I hoped my dog would be happy in his new Toy Department home. My mom hoped she would find me the lost dog. I longed to see my bear smile, and my grandma longed to see me smile. We call children simple, and distract their sadness with a candy bar. But you should have seen the smile on my face this morning when Eddie surprised me with a pumpkin flavored doughnut from Dunkin Doughnuts. It's not the act itself that can bring happiness to someone, but the sentiment and meaning from which it comes.
"Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."
Related thoughts, inspired by 2 very precious boys: