During the past 30 years, the staff at Chicago Children’s Museum has watched a lot of children grow up. We have many regular visitors who we call by name and see multiple times a week. In today’s post, Mary Sue Reese, Early Learning Program Manager, reflects on one of our awesome friendships with a visitor and his family.
William, four years old, runs into Pritzker Playspace wearing a shark-themed swimming cap. He looks at me and snarls. It’s not unusual for William to visit the museum in costume and in character. Earlier that day, William’s grandmother, Kat Kat, said that they were on their way to the beach when William exclaimed, “I want to go to the museum! I need to see my friends!” That’s how they ended up at Chicago Children’s Museum that summer morning.
It’s not an understatement that William considers CCM staff his friends. From the time he was eight months old, he visited frequently, spending entire days at the museum. Staff played with William as he experienced the museum as an infant, toddler and now a shark, superhero or budding scientist (depends on the day).
Awhile back, William had an accident at home that laid him up in the hospital for two weeks. Kat Kat called the museum suspecting that we would be wondering where William was, and she was right. To help with his recovery, CCM staff put together a care package of William’s favorite things, which included a large box of puff balls and crayons, and personally delivered it to William’s family. The museum is often the recipient of holiday cards and the occasional birthday treat as well.
William is now 5 years old and will be in full day kindergarten next year. Kat Kat told me recently, “You know, this is the last year William will be able to come to the museum during the week.” It certainly won’t be the same without him, but I look forward to seeing William grow and develop even more during the years to come.
There are many young children, like William, who spend their early years at Chicago Children’s Museum. It becomes a personal playground, giving young children and their families the opportunity to experience everything CCM has to offer, including friendship.