Roots and wings
I’ve always liked a full house.
The idea of many cultures and personalities under one roof–or in one room–excites me, and groups have never scared me. In fact, an empty house has the potential to freak me out a lot more than a little chaos.
So when five of Cienna’s friends arrived Saturday for a slumber party, I was up for the challenge of supervising six third-grade girls, and my 5-year-old and 3-year-old sons.
They arrived with smiles, pillows and sleeping bags, each telling me something different about their lives: one girl lives in a house once slept in by George Washington, another loves crafts, another speaks Chinese, another has a mom who makes awesome birthday cakes and another just returned from Disney World.
Loud cheers erupted when one friend suggested they play a game called “Horses and Wolves.” I wasn’t sure what that was; the only game of Horse I was aware of involved a basketball. Adding wolves with horses didn’t sound like a fun game–or one that should be played indoors.
To steer them away from that game, I invited them to join me in making Christmas crafts, which is one of Cienna’s favorite pastimes. Together, they painted wooden ornaments, made foam Christmas Trees, and built and decorated a gingerbread house.
Continuing the holiday theme, they watched “Arthur Christmas” while their ornaments dried.
Once the movie ended, I learned 9-year-old girls today aren’t much different than the 9-year-old girls of my generation (other than the fact my friends and I got to use Apple’s first Macintosh once a week in school, and my daughter and her friends can navigate the iPad as easily as their parents use pens).
Nail polish and makeup were lined up on our kitchen table as they prepared to perform makeovers. We’ve either come full circle or it was coincidence that their eye makeup and lipstick resembled the 80s fashion my friends and I suffered. With floral prints, leggings and leg warmers chic again, all that was missing from my 80s youth was big hair, lace gloves and an Expose record.
Watching them paint their already-perfect faces, I was reminded of an unfortunate dichotomy: When we’re young, we try to look older, and when we’re old, we try to look younger.
In that moment, a part of me wanted to stop time. I wanted Cienna to stay my little girl forever. I wanted her to live worry-free, reveling in her youth, loving school and looking forward to which items on her Christmas list Santa may deliver.
But, as Jonas Salk once said, “Good parents give their children roots and wings.”
Life has taught me great things happen when you let go. Control is fleeting, perfection is a moving target, and being the best is never a constant state of being. I’ve learned it’s better to appreciate a moment for what it is and try not to take anything for granted.
Looking at Cienna, with blue shadow on her eyes and pink blush on her cheeks, I saw a little girl who was very happy. And that was all the reason I needed to welcome a little chaos.
There will never be a shortage of things to worry about as my kids get older, but for now I’m going to appreciate things like slumber parties and a full house.