In all the years of being a mom to my five kids, I never forgot how important it was to feel hopeful. My kids and I would walk downtown to “The Village,” as we used to call it. It was the main street in our town, and during the Holiday Season every tree was decorated and Christmas music was piped in for all to hear. It was the hub of our community, to shop, get your hair or nails done, eat at one of the local eateries, and mingle with friends, neighbors and acquaintances.
Our family would “window shop” and dream. So many pretty items on display and the latest books and toys on display through the store window. Their was only one toy store, and it was named “Bocks,” and that was where the magic could happen. This store had the latest Lego box and showed all the designs it could make, my older boys were wide eyed and bursting with hope. Hoping that box of Lego’s might be their special gift under the tree. My girls would find their favorite stuffed animal, these were the kind that closely resembled the real animals of nature. Yet, soft and cuddly enough to be their second pillow. My youngest boy checked out every rock, stone, gem and science toy, as if he was there to make that big decision: Which one do I take home today? I would wander over to the book section and tried to read each one as fast as I could, to see which book was worthy of my purchase that year. So many sights for all of us to enjoy.
We could spend hours on this street, walking around “our village,” taking in the pet store, the vintage candy shoppe, the florist, the shoe repair, the jewelers, the stationary store, and the book store. I felt as if we were back in time, when there were no Malls and fifty acre buildings to get lost in. Where owners knew you and your family by their first name. The owner of the candy store was just like that. She knew me and my kids very well, as they were the ones who came in splitting a dollar between five kids. She found just the right item, each of my little kids would enjoy, and she was always right. It’s a good walk from our house to this street, and sometimes I would stroller my daycare kids down there, for Halloween. Each store personnel would hand out a treat and comment on the kids costumes.
The children loved this parade around the village, and the owner of the candy store would still come out and personally hand me five more treats, to give to my (now grown) children. That was something that people rarely see nowadays. It was just this one, long street, filled with old fashioned store fronts, and the regular folks who ran them. I used to tell my kids, “Let’s walk to the village, and we can all get some Christmas ideas and hopefully, Santa will bring us just what we we need.” I never wanted to tell my kids, that Santa would bring them ALL THEY WANTED, because that wasn’t reality. However, I did want them to believe that he would bring them something that was special for them.
Sometimes we would take our family dog on these walks too. Years ago, he was a Christmas gift for my kids. His name was Silver and he was a beautiful Siberian Husky, with one eye different from the other, their trademark.Years ago a neighbor saw how much my kids loved playing with his dog. He owned three beautiful dogs, but he saw the bond between “Silver” and my kids. One day, during the Christmas break, he asked me if I wanted to keep the dog for my family, as he knew we would take great care of him. I was so thrilled to share this special gift for all of my kids. That dog was the best present anyone could have asked for, that year, or any other. They were as good to this dog as they were to each other, loving him and in awe of his gentleness. This dog reminded me of how we never can have everything, but sometimes we all have everything we REALLY need. We have to look for what is right in front of us and remember to believe that good things happen all the time.
I will always love window shopping, and to this day, it brings back wonderful memories of time spent with my family, my children, of hopes and dreams, of faith and love and believing that wishes do come true.
Article by Laurie Cesario-Overton