We had a birthday to celebrate this last weekend. Our sweet, imaginative, creative girl turned 11, which my brain can’t really take in yet, but we had a fun day. Birthdays are a HUGE deal to Kaylia, so I always feel a bit of pressure, but fortunately, she’s able to find joy and pleasure in the smallest things, so it kind of balances out!
I’ve been thinking about how different each of my kids are, and how I learn things from parenting each of them. I’m fascinated by the idea that we have no control over what kind of people our kids will be, but life with them changes and shapes us in significant ways, as we parent them.
Kaylia has taught me a lot, and celebrating her birthday has made me think of what I’ve learned from being her mom:
She creates with reckless abandon.
Kaylia is always making something. Her life is filled with cutting, glueing, sewing, taping, painting, and designing creations with Lego. I live to see her creating things, and I’m inspired by the way she gets it out of her head and into the world. I tend to overthink my creative process, but Kaylia just goes for it.
Over the years, well-meaning friends and family have often given Kaylia craft kits as gifts. She will take all the contents of those kits, completely ignore the instructions, and make her own thing. She has never felt the need to be told how or what to create.
Before we left for our trip to the Bahamas in February, I asked Kaylia’s art teacher if there was anything Kaylia could work on so she wouldn’t fall behind. I thought her response summed things up accurately: “Well, we’re going to be doing some exercises to develop greater freedom in our art, but Kaylia is very free already, so she should be fine!”
She likes what she likes.
Back in the days when we still left the house on a regular basis, Kaylia wore the exact same outfit every time we attended our homeschool group. I asked her once why she always chose the same thing, and she said very matter of factly, “Because it’s my favourite.” She didn’t care about what anyone else thought about her wearing the same thing every time, because she knows what she likes, and she wanted to enjoy it.
When she needs to decide what she wants to buy, or what she wants to keep and what she wants to get rid of, she usually knows exactly what she wants. She’s quick to make decisions because she just knows what things are her favourite, and sees no need to second guess her instincts.
She is true to her own feelings.
Sometimes I’ve tried to nudge her to change her mind or be more open to things she doesn’t want to do, and I do feel there’s a place for that, but at the same time, I admire Kaylia’s ability to know what feels right and resonates deep within herself. She is not usually swayed by what others are doing, because she is very in touch with who she is and what she wants.
As a parent, I’m learning the fine balance between encouraging her to try new things, and being true to herself. I never want to dull her intuition or her ability to know her own mind.
She has great sensitivity.
Kaylia has never recovered from learning that Pluto used to be considered a planet, but is not anymore. The other day, she asked for the second time, “Does it hurt God’s feelings that people think Pluto isn’t a planet?” She’s concerned about this, and it troubles her soft heart.
She can read emotional situations quickly, and will immediately try to smooth things over or find a way to ease the tension.
She believes every event is a BIG event.
Kaylia reminds me to celebrate the little things. This last Valentine’s Day, it was half an hour before supper would be ready when Kaylia decided we COULD NOT let the day pass without a party. I was tired and not really in the mood, but I could see how much it meant to her. I dug through my stash of fancy napkins (courtesy of my mom, because I would never think to buy my own nice napkins) and pulled out some hidden chocolates, while she got to work on decorating the table.
By the time supper was ready, she’d made a beautiful garland, covered the table with confetti, and made Valentine’s to put on everyone’s plate. As we sat there enjoying our little party, I felt so thankful for our sweet girl, who knows the importance of the small things. 💕
Kaylia makes our home more colourful and interesting. I love the ways in which she reminds me to have more fun, more parties, more creativity, and not get too bogged down with the details.