Monday, February 21, 2011

I stretched out on my daughter’s bed in her cozy little apartment and listened in as she explained sketches to her dad. We had come for lunch and for my dear husband wanted to consult her on some design ideas for a web page. She spoke clearly and confidently about “negative space” and “rezzes” and “opacity”. I lay there wrapped in wonder and mystery. I couldn’t help but consider that this person who was speaking in tongues (as far as I’m concerned) was the same one once coached in phonics.

I suddenly was reminded of the many times she would require I not enter our old dining room. My chubby cheeked 6 year old would be busy rearranging furniture, drawing pictures, assembling these items to create an art installation of her imagination. She would sternly remind me not to touch a thing until her daddy came home from work so he could appreciate her “project”. Her face was all seriousness, her long curls bouncing up and down and it was all I could to refrain from squeezing her.

Our children display their corner of the world, their personal secret garden of imagination to us when they still trust us. How many times have we not been invited to participate in their world of illusion? And how many times do we support this burst of creativity melded with their confidence in our appreciation?

My younger daughter had no patience for creating objects or works of art. Yet she would spend hours on end weaving intricate story lines for her Barbies to experience. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to be swept up in one of her dramas that I realized my little girl was processing her own emotions. Friend troubles, missing loved ones, challenging homework. All these topics, which could have been opportunities for whining and defeat, she instead used as material for her ongoing sagas. I sat watching her cry real tears when Skipper announced to Barbie she was moving away and they would no longer be friends. I wanted to put my arm around my little girl, but instead she whispered in her famously raspy voice, “mom, your turn to talk. Tell Barbie everything is going to be alright.”
My Barbie –playing child is now 22, and I overhear her consoling her friends on occasion. “Everything is going to be alright. I’m here for you.”

My daughters taught me about respecting the inner creativity we all possess. To take the time to listen , watch and wait for it to bloom. I will relish this perfume forever…