Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Long Live Eight Years Old

On a visit to a favorite thrift store, Maria made a prized discovery... she calls it her Tasha Tudor dress. It is a homemade dress, many sizes too big, and yet a perfect fit for an eight year old girl in love with Prairie stories, farm days, her garden, and living by candlelight. It was hers for ten dollars, money she felt proud to have saved, and happy to spend.

Eight years old... all of the imagination and wishes of a young child, and a new sense of ownership and responsibility from knowing more, doing more, than when she was four or six. She can make believe, and she has strong convictions, happy ideals, for which she feels no hesitancy or embarrassment. When she feels pretty, she declares it. When her skirt can twirl, she twirls it. All of the delights in life are hers. She sees the opportunities, she fosters the play, and the joy in play.

She wanted the natural broom, "It's old fashioned. You can tell this is what someone would have made, with straw and wood, maybe. Not plastic. It looks right with this kind of dress."

Maria asked to have her hair pinned up. She's wearing her cowgirl boots. She's eager for summer, for gardening, and sleeping in the barn.

Last night she watched her brothers jumping over the tall fence, and leaping across the straw bales, and she was game for that kind of play, too. She's reading The Amazing Adventures of Doctor Dolittle. She's been researching gems and minerals, and creating a poster to define and illustrate different minerals, and their properties. She wants to learn to program her Adafruit computer, so she can write her own games. When she's nervous she scratches a tender spot at the base of her thumb... she tries to hide this. I hold her, and show her the finger I used to keep in my mouth when I was scared.

I want to remember all of it. Each of my children, at every age... treasured times, and memories. Lifetime memories. We hope. I want long, and healthy, safe, adventurous lives for everyone. Lives that are full of prized discoveries, trees to climb, foods to try, gardens to plant, medals to earn, languages to learn, places to go, people to love. I know we share this feeling of hope, this feeling of awe for young lives, for good people, for people who run into the smoke and confusion, and help. I want to protect, and nurture, to respect the ideals and spirit that eight year olds keep in their hearts, and carry through their busy days. I want their imaginative, eager, curious, idealistic spirits to last, forever.


Sylvia said...

Happy Birthday, dear sweet Maria!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Every day should feel like a birthday... a new start, a life celebration. I only mentioned Maria's age, because while I am grateful and happy for her life, for the wonder she sees and shares, I am also heartbroken over the tragedy in Boston, 8 year old Martin Richard, his six year old sister. Senseless loss fills me with anguish, and I want to dispel the sadness and grief, and fill in some light and hope.
Sylvia, thank you for the birthday wish... happy birthday to you, too! We are happy to have a day, where we can begin anew.

ArtyZen said...

I have no words for what has happened in Boston. It's too awful; I can't bear to imagine what must have gone through people's minds as it was happening and the realisation of what had happened when it was too late.

Your beautiful photos of your beautiful, imaginative, wonderful daughter has made me smile and thank goodness that there are some very special people in this world.

warren said...

Your last paragraph beautifully sums it up. It scares me to death that my kids are growing up but I am also so excited to see what life brings them. Anyhow, happy birthday Maria! Sweet dress and awesome hair-do!

PamKittyMorning said...

She is so sweet, a little beauty inside and out!

Anonymous said...

Silly goats, beautiful chickens, hoping bunnies,cuddly cats, swimming tadpols,a swimming fish to I love them all but mostly you!