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To New Beginnings and Happy Endings

Today is a big day. Today my youngest two children start kindergarten and my oldest child begins second grade. This is a day that seemed forever away on the horizon. It was the major milestone that I kept in sight on the hardest days of parenting. If I could just make it to the twins’ first day of kindergarten, at the very least I can start blaming all their shortcomings on their teachers (just kidding teacher friends! Love you and what you do and BLESS YOU a million times).

There were days when I never believed I would make it here. It seemed forever away. There were days when I had to leave the grocery story because I had two crying babies and a screaming toddler and I was about to burst into tears. There were days when I thought if I had to clean up one more spilled cup I was going to scream. There were trips to the doctor for ear infections and sleepless nights due to stomach viruses. There were days.

They weren’t all bad. There were days when they were so adorable when just a look from either of them would melt my heart. There were toys shared and pictures drawn that were beyond sweet.

I started this blog almost three years ago exactly. The twins had just begun preschool. This is a picture from their very first day of preschool.

Who are these babies? Has it really only been three years since they were this small? They have changed so much since then. I remember when they were starting preschool, I wondered how they would do. I could not imagine that either of them would be able to follow directions. I imagined the teacher leader circle time and my kids standing up in the middle of it and walking over to a toy that caught their attention. I could not for the life of me picture them sitting still while their teach handed out the snack. And yet, they stepped up to every challenge and did amazing in preschool.

I took this next picture this past weekend.

Seriously, who are these big kids? I wish I could tell the mom taking the picture of the preschool kids that the next three years will go by so fast. Even if I could, I wouldn’t have believed me. I’d heard it a million times and brushed it off as an over used cliché. Because when you are living live with three preschoolers, nothing goes by fast.

Except it does.

I’m thankful for this blog because it helped me capture some of the memories I know I would have forgotten if I hadn’t written them down. Like how hard it used to be to ride escalators with my children. Or the fun we had playing games. For three years this blog helped me while I struggled to find meaning in a chaotic daily life. Hard days became blog posts with a redeeming lesson at the end. Many times it took writing it down to realize just how special the moment had been. Other times if I didn’t sit in front of a computer screen for an hour to let it out, I would have just sat alone and cried. This blog helped me during an important phase of parenting. I mostly wrote it for myself and it was a bonus that others enjoyed reading it.

But for the past year or so, the posts have become fewer. This is due partly to the fact that I blogg over at and partly to the fact that I started working full-time.

I believe in beginnings and I believe in endings. I’m so glad that I started this blog because it helped me discover my love for writing. It gave me an outlet that I desperately needed. But it is time for the ending. This is not the end of Susan blogging forever. As I said, I’m still writing at But for now, this blog is ending. I’m closing this chapter so that I can move on to different things. Maybe I’ll be back with a different type of blog or maybe I’ll write again about parenting observations. I just don’t know.

Thank you to my loyal readers. You are great. Your support and encouragement helped convince me that I didn’t need to throw in the towel after only a few posts. Thank you to my amazing husband who shared his wife with a computer screen on countless occasions and who read through almost every post for typos no matter how late it became.

But most of all, thank you to my wonderful kids. Thank you for unknowingly sharing your life in this blog. After I capture these posts and save them, hopefully you will read them some day and realize that yes, mommy was stressed a lot, but she was mostly just trying to be a good mom. Being a good mom shouldn’t have to be so stressful and though it may not have seemed like it at the time, I was constantly doing my best to chill out. The three of you are the delights of my day and you will always bring me joy!

Happy first day of kindergarten and second grade!

The End of An Era

I wasn’t sure what to do with you when I first held you both in my arms. I was scared. I questioned whether I had what it would take to be your mom. I was so happy to be holding you but at the same time I was so scared that I would mess up or make a mistake or break down because life was about to get very hard.

Guess what? I did mess up, I made a lot of mistakes and I even broke down. But it was all worth it. Because through out all of it, I got to be your mom. Life was hard and things were crazy but after five years of this twins thing I think we’ve finally found our groove.

I always imagined that the first 5 years would be the hardest. I knew that it would be difficult to have two little babies and a toddler in the house. Two babies learning to sleep through the night. Two toddlers learning to walk. Two preschoolers learning to potty train. Everything was done in twos with you guys and in so many ways that made the last five years the hardest five years of my life.

But there is another side to having twins that people don’t always get to see. As the mother of twins I experienced twice the joy. You were two sweet babies that I got to hold in my arms at nap time. You gave me twice the amount of baby giggles that I found so adorable. You gave me twice the hugs and twice the kisses.

You taught me a lot about a lot of things. Take patience. As two children who end up sharing most things, you know a thing or two about patience. You’ve had to wait for things. When there is only space for one person, you’ve learned to wait your turn. This has taught you a lot about disappointment. As the second and third child you’ve haven’t had the same royal treatment that your older brother received his first years. For every first that he endeavored, a parade of pomp and circumstance followed. You guys were different. We were just so thrilled to make it to your milestones that we had little energy to do much else. You learned to just go with it.

Here we are five years later and what amazing kids you’ve become.

Daughter, watching you make friends is like watching the sunrise every morning. It comes so easy to you. It seems every time we leave the house you make a new friend. I hope that you never lose that skill. I hope that you will always see people as friends that you haven’t met yet. I love how excited you get over the silliest things. I love your love for girly things while at the same time your ability to keep up with the boys. I love you.

Son, I didn’t know four year olds could be this thoughtful. How is it that you have learned to be more selfless than many grown adults including myself? Thank you for the example to set in this house to always be thinking about others’ needs. I love that it took you 4 years to learn how to like cuddling but now that you do you want to cuddle all the time. I love that you won’t let me leave the house without first running to give me a giant hug and kiss. I love you.

Today is your birthday. Today you are five. In a few months, you’ll be done with preschool and ready to start kindergarten. I’m a little sad to close this chapter of our lives but I am so excited to see what the next five years will bring us.

Today You Are Seven.

Can it really be that today you are seven? I’m not quite sure how we are here already. Last week when we bought the number seven birthday candle for your birthday cake I actually had to stop to think to make sure I had the right number. Seven does not feel right. You haven’t even lost your first tooth yet. You are the same height as your four-year-old brother. How can you be seven?

Trust me, some days you feel way older than seven. Some days, you look at me with that grin of yours and you say some witty remark and I swear you are an adult trapped in six-year-old’s body. Other days when you refuse to do your homework or clean up your room you seem very tween-like.

But most days you are still my sweet little boy. The baby that made me a mom. Seven years a mom. You’d think after seven years we’d have this thing down, but as you and I have both learned this year there are so many layers to this parent-child relationship thing. Just when we think we are making progress, one of us goes and throws another wrench in the process.

We have had our moments this year. We struggle at times to communicate effectively don’t we? If I’m being honest, most of my frustration comes when I perceive you not caring about things that I cared about at your age. I am trying to remember that you are not me and you do things differently than me but it is hard. As you grow older, this will become more and more difficult. I promise to try my best to allow you to grow into your own person and not just try to mold you into a miniature version of me. The world doesn’t need another version of me. There is already one of me. The world needs a you. You have so much to offer the world. You are creative. You are funny. You are outgoing. You are charming. You have talents I never had. Trying to mold you into me would be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You are already on your way to becoming an awesome adult. I will try to remember that.

Thank you for another great year of being your mom. Thank you for teaching me patience as we attempt to study Japanese together. Thank you for your forgiveness when I’ve let you down. Thank you for playing with your brother and sister even when you’d rather play alone. Thank you for always trying your best when you play basketball. Thank you for holding my hand in the parking lot. Thank you for flashing that amazing smile that still melts my heart. Thank you for insisting that I cuddle with you at night before you go bed.

I can’t wait to watch you grow this year.

(And I promise that you will FINALLY lose a tooth when you are seven. This is definitely your year buddy.)

The Time I Fell in Love in Sierra Leone

One of the many things we are taught in our preparation meetings before departing for Sierra Leone is to be careful with what you say while in Sierra Leone.  A friendly “You should visit the United States someday,” could be misinterpreted to mean “Come and stay at my house for as long as you’d like.” As my team leader pointed out, you will be connecting with someone and say something that seems harmless, but you are still connecting with someone from a different culture. Different cultures interpret things in different ways. Be careful with your words.

Also before my trip, my husband told me about Lance (name has been changed). In fact, upon returning from each of his previous trips, he told me all about Lance. When it was confirmed that I was going on this trip, one of the first things he said was, “You will finally get to meet Lance.”

Lance was his boy. They had connected on his first trip. At that time, Lance was just around six years old. Everywhere Tim went, so did Lance. This is common at the Child Rescue Centre. The children seem to divide themselves up and each of them connects with a different member of the team. Lance connected with Tim. For four years I heard how amazing this kid was, so naturally I was anxious to finally meet him.

When we arrived at the CRC it was late in the afternoon. The kids came running to greet our bus. They were singing “Welcome, welcome,” smiling and clapping. As we got off the bus they began to hug us and ask us our names. As they introduced themselves I grew more and more anxious to meet Lance. What did he look like again? He would be older now, but how old?

Finally a boy about 10 years old approached me, gave me a hug and asked my name.  I told him and then asked him his.

“My name is Lance.”

“LANCE! LANCE! I am Tim Ward’s wife! He -” and then I stopped. Remembering our training I wasn’t sure how to continue. I didn’t feel as if I could really launch into a long narrative on how much Tim loved him. I chose my words carefully.

“Lance, I know you! I have heard stories about you! I am so glad to meet you!”

As the week wore on, I had to laugh at my initial hesitation. As I began to meet some of the older kids who also remembered Tim, they would say things like “Oh, you are Tim’s wife? Have you met Lance? He is Tim’s son.” Apparently, the bond between the two of them was well known here.

Lance and I were soon inseparable. Our team stayed at the building next door to the CRC, but every morning when I would enter the CRC, Lance would see me and run to my side. He would save a seat for me at all the events. At night, he would walk me to the door and hug me good night.

On day, while watching the older boys play soccer, we talked about what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“I want to be a doctor.” (The great thing about the CRC is that kids here can dream to be a doctor and if they work hard enough it can actually happen. Lance has the benefit of watching the older kids who have graduated the CRC go on to medical school.)

“That’s great. You are going to have to study hard. Are you a good student?”

“I’m number one in my class.” That’s my boy, I thought.

“What kind of doctor do you want to be?”

He smiles at me. Whenever Lance smiles at me, my heart melts. He is beautiful. “I want to be a doctor in America.”

Now that’s going to be a little harder, I think. None of the older students that have gone before him have managed that one yet. Again I choose my words wisely.

“An American doctor, huh? Good thing you are number one in your class.  You better keep that up.”

I wanted desperately to tell him that if anyone can do it, it is him. I wanted to begin planning his future and scheming how he could get to America, study there, live there and finally meet our kids, but I knew I could not.

Instead, I just smiled back at him.

By the end of the week I was dreading saying good-bye. My eyes would literally tear up every time someone would mention the last night. I did not want to leave. I was pretty confident I would be back to the CRC, but I did not know when. In Sierra Leone, the government encourages a process called “reunification” for children who live in group facilities like this. When they reach a certain age, they go live with family members or foster families in the community. I was not sure if I would be back before Lance was reunified. I was hopeful, but not sure.

At the last program I could barely look at Lance. The lump in my throat made talking nearly impossible. I just wanted to hold him forever. Finally, I began to cry. As I hugged the other kids from the CRC, so many wonderful kids that I will also miss greatly, Lance never left my side. When it was time to go, Lance walked me to gate, as he did every night.

Earlier in the week, I had heard a boy talking with Lance about something Tim had told Lance on his first trip. He told Lance to look at the stars and think of him. Remember that we all look at the same stars.

As tears came down my cheeks, I managed the words, “Remember the stars. We have the stars.” I hugged Lance and let the tears flow freely.

“You are an awesome kid. Always remember that. I’m so glad that I met you. I love you. Thank you.”

I looked down at him to see that he was crying too. He didn’t say anything back, he just hugged tighter.

Finally, it was time to go. As I walked away from him, I thanked God for Lance. An orphan in Africa, number one in his class with dreams of becoming an American doctor. I don’t know what the future actually holds for Lance, but I know that he will have a bright one. I know that he is loved and well cared for at the Child Rescue Centre.

I know that he is forever cherished in my heart.

Losing Control in Africa

I like to be in control. I like the feeling of knowing exactly what I want, executing a few steps and accomplishing my goal. In my house, you could even call me a bit bossy. I’m the mom. I call most of the shots. We eat what I make for dinner. The house is cleaned when I say it needs to be cleaned. If one of my children wants to play outside, he/she has to run it by me first. Outside of the home, I know how to get things done. If I want an iced tea from Panera, I have the means (money and transportation) to get one. If I am made to pay more money at store based solely on the color of my skin, I know where to report it and can be assured that it will be looked into. I know how life works in my world.

When I stepped off the plane in Africa, I realized just small the world I know how to control is. As a foreigner in an unfamiliar land, I didn’t have a clue about how things worked. I had heard stories and had a general idea of what to expect but the actual application of this knowledge was completely different. It’s a very odd feeling to be completely helpless. To suddenly be in a country where you have no money, no transportation, no working phone and many of the people don’t speak your language I had almost no means to control anything. I was forced to rely completely on our team leader. A new feeling for a mom who is used to always being in control.

Many things just work differently in Sierra Leone. In Northern Virginia if you schedule a bus to arrive at 9, you expect it to arrive at 9 or 9:15 at the latest (which would be late and unacceptable). In Sierra Leone you might schedule a bus to arrive at 9 but it might not come until 10:30. While disappointing, it doesn’t seem as critical in Sierra Leone. Had it happen the morning we needed to catch our flight home, I’m sure I’d be singing a different tune, but since it was not the morning of our flight, my inability to control the situation led me to realize two things: I could either sit and complain about the bus being late or I could enjoy the extra time with our group. I chose the latter. There is a lot of waiting in Sierra Leone because there is so much that is beyond your control. I typically don’t like waiting, but it seemed different there. It was not anxious waiting as if you will miss something, it’s more of a calm waiting like when you are waiting for the sun to set over the ocean. It’s waiting without the rush.

As I said before, I like being in control, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed not having to control it all. While confusing at times because I didn’t always know exactly what the plan was three steps ahead of what we were currently doing, it was relaxing not having so many balls to juggle in the air at one time. It wasn’t my job to make sure dinner was on the table each night. There were no toys to put away at the end of the day. I wasn’t constantly checking my phone to make sure I wasn’t missing anything from work. I was able to focus on the main reason I had traveled across the world to Africa: to show love to a group of amazing kids.


The Adventure Begins Tomorrow!

The time has come! I leave for Africa tomorrow. As promised I will be blogging about my experiences. However, due to limited access to electricity I will be blogging “old school” (aka writing in a journal) while I’m there for content on this blog. When I return, I will post my thoughts. So you will have to wait a bit longer to hear from me on this blog. If that is too long for you, I’d like to invite you to check out these fabulous blogs that will be covering our trip real-time (as much as real-time is possible in Africa). I will be posting along with my other team members on these blogs.

The two blogs are

Helping Children Worldwide blog

Today I Saw God Blog

Thanks again for all the support from everyone!

Lions and Safety Drills

Today my son’s school had a safety drill. Yesterday they sent a letter home explaining the importance of the drill and the preparedness of the school if something were to happen and the school had to go on lock-down. The letter made me calm and anxious at the same time. I was glad the school had thought through such things but sad that it needed too. I still remember all too clearly the feelings last December from Sandy Hook.

I was curious how this safety drill would go in the eyes of my first grader. While the letter assured the parents that the drill would not be traumatic or scary, I wondered what he would think of the whole ordeal. So before he went to bed tonight I asked him.

He told me how the entire class huddled into a corner of the classroom and got into tiny balls. He described how the teacher put black plastic things over the windows on the doors. My stomach began to churn as I imagined the room full of kids acting out such a scene.

And then he said something that made me laugh.

“And my teacher said we have to be really quiet because if an animal got into our school, like a lion, we wouldn’t want the lion to know where we are. Which makes sense, except I think lions live in Africa so I don’t really think a lion will ever come into our school.”

I thought of a room full of 6-year-olds imagining a lion wandering the school hallways. I hoped they all sat there today in their tight little balls and thought, “Well, this is silly, I don’t think a lion will ever come to our school.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad my son’s school has a plan. I’m so glad the students practiced it. But I’m also glad my son doesn’t have to go to school every day wondering if today will be the day when the teacher has to cover the windows and the class will huddle in the corner for real.

Thank you teachers for knowing just what to say to put a kid (and his mom) at ease.

I’m Going to Africa

“I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head…I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand…I hope.”
-Shawshank Redemption

There is a quote in Shawshank Redemption that has been on my heart these past few months. This might be because my husband watches this movie most Saturday nights because it’s his favorite movie and it’s always on some cable channel but it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m going to Africa in December and this quote fits my emotions exactly. I’m fortunate to be a member of a team going to Bo, Sierra Leone to spend time with kids living at the Child Rescue Centre (CRC). The CRC is made possible through a nonprofit organization called Helping Children Worldwide. I know several people who have gone on this trip and the stories from their trips make me long to go on a trip of my own.

“I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head.”

I’m beyond excited to go to Africa. Ever since my husband returned from his latest trip to Sierra Leone two years ago, I have been dying to go on a trip of my own. My time has finally come, this is the year when I get to go to Africa and it’s less than five months away! This makes me so excited and nervous. There is so much to do to get ready and only five months to prepare. I have a passport to update, shots to get, prescriptions to fill, clothes to spray (think heavy-duty bug spray), and so much more. It’s going to be a busy 5 months but it’s going to be worth it.

“I hope I can make it across the border.”

When people go to Sierra Leone the hardest part, they say, is getting there and getting back. There is no direct flight from D.C. to Bo. Instead, we take a three-day journey to get there. It involves a (very short) layover in London, a flight to Lungi, a ferry ride to Freetown, and then a (very long) bus ride to Bo. To some, this travel itinerary would sound exhausting and impossible but honestly I believe that God has prepared me for this trip for the past four years. After traveling with three small children on multiple trips for multiple days, the travel to Bo is not stressing me out. Sure, I recognize there will be an element of adventure involved with this journey, but I’m not worried at all. I know I can do it. I’ve been training for this type of trip for the past four years.

“I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.”

When people return from the CRC, they tell stories. They tell stories about the cook who prepared delicious food every day and was incredibly nice and welcoming. They tell stories about the doctors and nurses on staff at the hospital on-site. Most memorable though, are the stories about the children. Everyone has a story about a child. Many have multiple stories about multiple children. I’ve heard so many stories about so many children that I feel like I already know them. These are children that I’ve been praying for. These are children whose smiles I’ve fallen in love with in pictures. I cannot wait to meet these children. This is perhaps the part of the trip I’m excited about the most: connecting with the kids I’ve heard so much about. I can’t wait to have my own stories. I can’t wait to come back and share my stories with others.

“I hope.”

I have so much hope for the children of the CRC. Because of the CRC, these children, who were previously victims of trafficking or orphaned due to a civil war, have a future. These children have full bellies and an education and will be offered an opportunity for a life that they never dreamed. I’m feel so blessed to be a part of that.

So, I’m going to Africa. When I go, I will be blogging as much as possible about my time in Bo. If I don’t get to post while I’m there, I will posting my entries when I return. I realize not everyone can go to Africa so I hope my stories will serve as a blessing to those who cannot be there in person. I hope to capture the joy of those children and help you fall in love the same way I have fallen in love with them without ever meeting them.

Before I can go to Africa, I’m asking for your support in two ways:

  1. Pray for me. Please pray that my team can connect and build relationships with the children of the CRC and make a difference while we are there.
  2. Support Helping Children Worldwide in my name. As part of my trip, I’m raising $3,000 for Helping Children Worldwide.
    If you break this down I need 30 people to give $100.
    Or 60 people to give $50.
    Or 120 to give $25.

I would be incredibly honored if you would consider donating in my name. All donations are tax deductions and can be made online here

I know going to Africa isn’t possible for everyone, but I think we can all agree that children deserve to live a hopeful life. The kids at the CRC have that. I can’t wait to see that hope. I can’t wait to tell you about it.

It’s Just the Beginning.

I’ve been working on a project at work this past week that’s been very time consuming. It’s a very exciting project but it’s very labor intensive. It’s also the very beginning of a pretty big undertaking. While it’s a lot of hard work, it’s actually a lot of fun as well. There are moments when I catch myself thinking “I can’t believe I get paid to do this.” I have big dreams for this endeavor. But right now, I’m at mile one of a marathon. I might even still be at the starting gate waiting for the gun to go off. Do they use guns at marathons? I’ve never actually run a marathon so I’m not really sure how it goes. Which brings me back to my project. I’m in new territory for this project. I like challenges. I like the excitement and the thrill of figuring something out for the first time. So this past week has been a great week at work, but at times I’ve caught myself second guessing my efforts, wondering if all this work will be good enough. I have this perfect plan in my head of how it will turn out and a voice inside of me tells me that there’s no way I can pull it off.

And then I remembered a quote that I heard from an author and blogger whom I admire greatly.

That’s when I realized it was going to be okay. I’m just at the beginning of my project. There are still some rough edges to be smoothed out. I’m in for some bumps and bruises along the way. But I’m not at my middle yet. I have to work to get my project to its middle. If I give up now, it will remain stranded at the starting line, with no real effort given behind it to improve it and modify it to its middle. When I remember this, the anxiety about the project lessons and the joy that comes from the work returns.

It’s only the beginning.

Teaching My Extroverted Kids How to Be Introverts

My three kids are extroverts. On a scale of 1 to 10 they rank a 26. They have entire conversations with complete strangers in the grocery store. I can leave them with a different babysitter every day and they will never have separation anxiety. They make friends with kids in public play areas and expect to have play dates with them a week later.

They love people.

If you were to document their day, I would imagine 80% of it is spent interacting with others. I can’t speak for my older son while he’s in school, but I can tell you that when my two four-year-olds are home they are together. It never occurs to them to play separately. They might literally be biting and pulling each other’s hair out because they hate each other so much in that moment, but they would still rather play in the same room with each other than play alone somewhere else.

And so, as summer has begun and the days are becoming longer, I am already noticing that they are growing tired of each other. I can hardly blame my twins. If I had spent every waking moment with someone for the past 4 and a half years of my life I think I’d be a little sick of them too.

As I began to notice the noise level slowly increasing in our house, my inner-introvert was begging for sanity.

“Why don’t these kids ever just sit down and read a book?”

“Do they even KNOW how to play by themselves?”

And that’s when I realized, maybe they don’t. I will say that my older son does. And once in a while, he will sneak off to our designated craft space and draw. This lasts about 10 minutes before one of the younger siblings discovers him and wants to color as well and then a fight breaks out over the yellow crayon.

The twins have always had each other to play with. Their life is one long play date. When my son started school, they still had each other. When they were toddlers, out of convenience, I always had them playing in the same room so I could watch them. Now that they are actually old enough to play in a room without me watching their every move, it rarely occurs to them to separate.

And that’s when I decided that twice a day, for 30 minutes increments, we were going to have mandatory introverted time. We have three floors in our house and three kids. Perfect. I mapped out some ground rules:

  1. You must stay on your designated floor for the entire 30 minutes. We have a bathroom on every floor so there are no excuses.
  2. Pick activities you can manage yourself. No asking Mom or the babysitter for help. While this sounds like I’m promoting independence, I’m actually trying to eliminate the loophole my children have discovered that is asking for help and getting a chance to interact with people.
  3. If you stay on your designated floor for your entire time you will get a prize. This is pretty self-explanatory.

We are only in the trial phase of this experiment as school has only recently ended. It takes about 10 minutes for them to get settled but once they are the next 30-40 minutes (a perk of children who can’t tell time) are wonderful. The house is beyond quiet. Well it’s not actually silent because all three kids still insist on talking to themselves while playing alone, but the decibel level decreases at least by at least 80%. At first my husband, the extreme extrovert from whom they get their social tendencies, thought I was crazy but even he can’t argue with the peace this time creates in our house.

My hope is that by the end of the summer they might actually choose to play by themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they are so outgoing. I love that can hold conversations with everyone around them. But I also want to give them the skills to be alone. I want to teach them how to get lost in a book. I want them to explore their own imagination instead of playing off someone else’s idea. I want them to be able to express their creativity by coloring and drawing what’s in their heart.

Do they beg for quiet time?


Will they ever?

Maybe not.

If they learn nothing else from this summer experiment, my hope is that they will learn that playing alone is not miserable but can actually be just as fun.

Okay maybe that last part is pushing it, but a girl can dream, can’t she?