As I shift laundry around and iron items that have been put away for almost a year, my 6-year-old daughter says, “Mom, thanks for helping me make this doll house.” I smile brightly and joyfully say, “You’re welcome – I had a lot of fun doing this with you.”
Together we realize it’s been too long since we’ve been alone and just had fun. So much of our lives, maybe too much, is spent on coming and going and we seem to be in the midst of agendas with timelines.. Today we have had the unexpected gift of a free morning. Little One had just received a toy set of miniature bunk beds and two bunnies. When she asked me excitedly to play with her, I hesitated on the inside thinking to myself, how do we do that?
Then I got the idea to read some Beatrix Potter stories that we could act out with the bunnies. Little One bought into this idea, so we headed to our home library and began our playing. Ms. Potter’s funny creative spirit stirred mine and the next thing I knew, Little One and I were creating our own bunny house with left over boxes, fabric and a glue gun. She was thrilled and I was amazed to see Little One create and problem solve so well. She also said, “Mom, I like you. Thank you for spending time with me.” To hear our child, who is often remarkably – and loudly, demanding, articulate genuine appreciation for the delight of being together is the greatest gift a mother could receive. To know that our daughter has the ability to understand gratitude – and to verbally articulate it, is to know our daughter is getting our lessons!
While I haven’t gotten as much “done” as I intended today, the memories created together – with Beatrix Potter’s stories, the bunnies, and the hand-made doll house will forever stand in our hearts’ history. And, in sharing this open-ended, uninterrupted time, I also got to walk back into the magic I knew in my own childhood – with my daughter. In giving her my undivided attention, she has given me the gift of her sweetest, brightest self, too. The peace that comes from today, shines a light on what is to come – and it’s good:).
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Chinese Proverb