Despite the fact that I carried both of my girls, gave birth to them, fed them for almost a year each and am at home with them virtually 24/7, there are times when I look at them - really look at them - and wonder if I really know them at all.
This is especially true of Big. She is almost 5, determined, talkative, inquisitive, emotional, affectionate, imaginative and loving. But I often find myself curious about what is really going on in her head. She loves making up stories and she describes very vivid pictures from her imagination.
A few months ago, I taught Big how to hand sew simple items. When her best friend's birthday drew near, Big insisted on making her something for a present. I asked her what she wanted to make and she replied, "A rainbow with arms and legs and a face."
We went to Spotlight and she gave me instructions about fabric and I told her I would do the difficult sewing. We set about designing and cutting out. It took me a while to get my head around sewing arches, but I did it!
It is massive. Huge. But Big was so thrilled with it. She helped me stuff it and then proudly sewed the stuffing opening shut. She wrapped it and took it to her friend's school (we pick her up once a week and it happened to fall on her birthday). It was a success and loved, making both girls' days.
Once this project was done, Big threw herself into sculpting with playdough, proudly showing off her creations. She loves bright colours and there is usually a love heart or a fairy involved.
(That is her suitcase - packed for a trip we are taking in September. She has been carting it around all week!)
There are a lot of tears when what she creates with her hands does not match what she sees in her head. She finds that the biggest frustration of all. We have many conversations about perfection and the fact that it is not real or necessary. One day I hope we both learn that lesson!
The more she creates, the more I feel like I get to know her better and I realise that there is so much more to her than the fact that she is my daughter.