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Happy Anniversary, Sesame Street!

Elmo hasn't been around for 40 years, but now Sesame Street has!

Elmo hasn't been around for 40 years, but now Sesame Street has!

When I worked full time in a corporate job, I’d get the kids to day care by 8:30, and sometimes didn’t pick them up until 6:00 or 6:30.  I hated it!  I was making a great salary that more than paid for their child care, but when all was said and done, paying for the quality of child care I was willing to settle for amounted to a lot of my take-home pay.

So I quit, started my own photography business (and still do some consulting work for my old company, which I do from home as well), and while my earnings aren’t even remotely close to what I was making doing the nine-to-five grind, I’m still doing a decent job contributing to my family’s bottom line.  And, we don’t have to pay for day care!

But quitting wasn’t really about the money.  It was about time.  It was about not paying strangers to raise our kids.  It was about seeing my daughter get on the bus every morning, and helping her off every afternoon.  It was about rediscovering some of the joy I felt I was losing working in a job I didn’t love.

Some days I can spend fully immersed in my kids, but some days I have to get work done.  There’s photos to be edited, or records to be kept, or spreadsheets to be updated.  On those days, our DVR is my very best friend and helps me keep my 2 year-old out of trouble.  One of his favorite shows is Sesame Street, and I have to say it is just as awesome as it was when I was a kid.  Only now, I get all the funny little jokes they throw in for adults and I usually have at least one laugh-out-loud moment each show.  I’m just continually impressed with the quality of the writing and the educational value of the show.

So here I sit on the couch next to my son, answering client emails and writing a blog post and watching Neil Patrick Harris sing about being the “Fairy Shoe Person” on Sesame Street.  He’s helping Telly pick out the perfect pair of shoes, after doing a snazzy musical number.  It is hilarious!

The problem with watching Sesame Street with my son is that I get so absorbed in it.  Yes, me, a thirty-something mom of two, a business owner with an MBA, is entranced by Elmo and Telly and Abby Cadabby and Gordon, and Neil Patrick Harris dancing and wearing a pair of wings.

Sesame Street is actually celebrating a big anniversary this year — 40 years!  It hardly seems possible.  They found a great formula for success — the show has never strayed from its educational roots, and never sacrificed entertainment value.  It has its quirky, irreverent moments, it stays current, while still touching on deeper life issues – a human character, Gina, recently adopted a son and the show followed that process.  I still remember when I was little and how gracefully and sensitively the show dealt with the death of the ubiquitous Mr. Hooper.  People say they couldn’t do that today… but I think they absolutely would and could.

As a nonprofit, they’ve had to utilize government grants and licensing income to stay afloat.  I’m glad for it, as I sit here with my little guy and watch him enjoy the show so thoroughly.  Maybe, someday, I’ll get to watch Sesame Street with my grandkids, too.

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