"whenever possible say yes, they are only kids once!" Yes to letting them turn my personal attire into breakfast costumes, yes to this slightly silly outfit she's curated, and yes to the suitcase. I tell her she can bring it as long as I approve its contents. After sifting through her choices I only have to remove two items, both vintage dresses from when I was a little girl that I can't bear to see trampled. On the way to the car she tells me this is going to be the best day of her life because she is going to put on a show. It makes me smile but I simultaneously wince knowing how hard it was for me not to stifle this act of creativity in the name of routine and order. The church is less than a quarter of a mile from our front door, but we still drive because I've run out of "yeses" for now so walking with a five year old and a two year old and their wheeled toys of choice in sub freezing temperatures gets a hard "no". During our 43 second journey she tells me I'm the best mom in the whole world for letting her bring this luggage. The girls disappear on stage for the vast majority of the time and the "show" ends up being a couple very brief moments of some kind of staged chaos with a song thrown in. I don't understand, but everyone aged 5 and under appears to be very pleased with how it turned out. Later when she gets home from three hours of preschool, she tells Evan what an amazing day she had because mom let her take a suitcase of clothes to playgroup and put on a show. Several more hours pass. We do chores, they disappear with friends, we call an impromptu family meeting to reteach proper neighborhood play etiquette (returning by 6 pm and not playing with friends whose parents aren't home), we eat dinner, and have scripture study. At the end, Cosette says our family prayer and thanks God that I allowed her to take her suitcase full of clothes to playgroup and put on a show. After she's in bed I think back over the many times she has celebrated this one little event throughout the day. Lately, I have been praying to know how to better connect with her and love her. Is this really about the suitcase? Is this about letting her be in charge of something? Of all four of my children her interpretation of fun is most often inconvenient, odd, and messy even to the point of destruction. She does things like fill our bathroom pipes with water beads from her art kit, and frost the downstairs sectional with a full can of hair mousse; these just aren't things I can say "yes" to. But after today, my eyes are opened to her imagination and I'll be watching for more opportunities to resurrect my own alongside her.
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