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Whose jar was it?

My mom taught me never to show up empty-handed and never to return an empty vessel. If you take food home from a friend's dinner party in her tupperware, make sure to return said tupperware with something new -- preferably homemade -- inside. This kind of graciousness is at the heart of our story Lovely, in which Bear and Squirrel exchange the same mason jar repeatedly, its contents evolving from the predictable (blackberry jam) to the absurd (a single striped sock), until neither can remember whose jar it was to begin with. Lately my almost-four-year-old has been talking A LOT about sharing. At his daycare the theme is discussed ad nauseam. He is still grappling with the concept, which doesn't quite jibe with his still narcissistic worldview, and seems to think the directive, "You have to share," is nothing more than a more socially acceptable way of saying, "gimme that!" But every once in a while he surprises me, turning to his baby brother and saying, "you can have it now," or, "here you go," with a disarming sweetness. And in these moments I have little doubt that his mason jar will always be full.

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