Two weeks ago, my daughter was bored. Being a homeschooled child with no siblings, she sometimes struggles on rainy days.
We've been having weeks of rainy days in northern Virginia.
On this particular rainy day, we both had cabin fever and were getting in each other's space more frequently than normal. I gathered different art supplies and arranged them on the work table downstairs, thinking, "She'll have fun making a collage." My friend Betsy even gave her an art "assignment": everything green (thinking, like I was, that Cami would be cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them on paper. That's a collage, right?)
Cami didn't make a collage.
She made a fairy glen.
She gave me a tour that day. She spread silk flowers and foam stickers all around the room. She adorned her stuffed animals with cloth roses and sparkly ribbons. She transformed our brown basement into a magical space, complete with everything fairies need in their glens.
The crowning glory of her creation? Gold glitter sprinkled everywhere.
By the next day, the glitter had migrated to the front steps. Outside. That evening, I could see the scalloped lines on the facing of each cement step where the rain had washed glitter from the welcome mat down toward the front sidewalk. It made me giggle.
I was in the basement last night, thinking I would tidy up before we hosted a playdate today. I was assailed by such a paradoxical emotional dichotomy that I gave up and went to bed.
You see, the glitter was overwhelming.
Glitter on the tables, glitter in the carpet, glitter on the bookshelves, glitter on the television.
I honestly didn't know how to feel. With a simultaneous "Awww!" ( as in "How precious! Look what she made!") and "Aaarrrggghhhh!!" (as in "#$%&*!! I'll never get rid of the glitter!!"), I was impressed with her attention to detail and furious with her meticulous thoroughness. There was a moment where I was overcome with sleepiness, my limbs seeming to weigh a thousand pounds each.
The underpinning of my emotional schizophrenic state? Grief. Grief that I can't turn a room into whatever my imagination can think up. Grief that the "real" world is going to crush Cami's whimsy. Grief that I have to help her negotiate that crushing without losing herself or sacrificing her gifts. I know this whole experience is a next step in my transformation. Jesus is redeeming the little girl inside of me and renaming the false labels I've worn for years ("too serious"; "no fun"; "party pooper").
I just didn't expect it to sparkle so much.
What about you? Have you ever experienced a moment of seemingly contradictory emotions?