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“Take What You Need” Day follow-up.

Posted Apr 17 2013 4:00am



First, thank you so much for playing along at home .

Whether you chimed in on instagram or hit the streets of your ‘hood the fact this became a group-thing made it all the more fun.

And, as with many ventures where I start out thinking this is so not about me! Im doing unto others!!, I learned a great deal about myself along the way.

It wasnt all pretty.

Allow me to elaborate.

I learned people really do want to smile.  I tried not to linger awkwardly after I taped up signs—but I frequently did anyway.  I spied people slink over grumpily to check out what Id left & watched the slightest of glimmer of grins spread across their collective faces as they read.  That, coupled with my raging HELPERS HIGH , made this misfit smile, too.


I learned many of us need more patience.  From me (seriously people. take what you need and GO. I wanna see what you ripped off! I cant hide here watching all morning! Do it!!) to OAKtown at large.  I came. I taped. I RETURNED to the scene of the crime taping and *patience* was typically the first word GONE!

I saw someone rip at this one...for PATIENCE.

I saw someone rip at this one. Yep. For PATIENCE.

I learned I underestimate the brain of a seven year old.  Id erroneously thought she’d happily join in with the pre-school neighborhood taping but wouldnt grasp the nuance of the poster.  She loves pink.  She loves tape. She loves playing before school.  I figured we’d tape-together on that fun, superficial level.   I was wrong.  Which brings me to my final learning moment…


her taping pride & joy

the child’s taping pride & joy


I learned I grew too caught up in the doing unto others & forgot the home-front.  (A lesson Im doomed to repeat till I get right) I saved a sign for us to put up after school.  I was excited for the Tornado to choose the location & to go out for snack after.  I was tired.  She was tired.  Id gotten up at 4a to work & she was wiped from school .  Longstoryshort we parked & I realized Id forgotten my wallet.  She, in her inimitable seven year old way, pressed a few of my buttons and I snapped.

The car grew silent, she ripped the last sign out of my hand, waved it in my face & shouted through her tears:

I need love!!

Her shout was like a slap in the face.

A great slap. A reminder slap. 

The rest of what transpired is personal & offline stuffs.

I unplugged.

We decided to save our final sign.

It’s now hung in our kitchen so she can always take what she needs/show me what shes “missing.”

Ahhh Take What You Need Day .

I loved you. I learned from you. And not in the way Id imagined.

And you?

  • Did you play along at home?
  • Do you find you are destined to learn & relearn the same lessons till you get it “right?”
  • Is your most needed thing these days PATIENCE, too?





Apparently some of us were concerned Id leave the ripped sheets to languish and potentially fall into the Bay.  No worries. I paper-retrieved.

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