(A very special thanks to Laura who inspired this piece by one she wrote which you won't find at her blog, but in a special album she mails to us on her email list each Sunday.)
While my sister, brother and I grew-up, we were expected to act like short adults. And well, it's rough remembering to act with grace, maturity and genteel manners when you're six.
And so, while I was a teenager, I made promises inside my head that--when I had my own child--I would raise her differently.
And so I did.
When Naomi was young, she totally believed in Santa Claus. Totally. And the Tooth Fairy visited our house, even (though twice she forgot to come and I had to cover for her). The Easter Bunny hopped around our backyard, leaving pastel-colored baskets.
Always, we had room for Reality and Imagination. I felt God agreed, especially since He is huge.
Naomi invited friends over for our cats' birthday picnics. She planned all activities for her own birthday parties, even made her own invitations with markers and construction paper.
One year she created a jungle in her bedroom, complete with plastic trees from yard sales and crepe paper 'vines' hanging from the ceiling. She preferred stuffed animals over dolls so her jungle was ready-made with lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). That same year, at age 11, she wrote an entire 'Hey Dude' novel.
When she was sixteen she invited her friends over for a memorial service for John Lennon up in our attic. The Monkees were her favorite group (this was the late 90's, remember) so, using a black marker, she drew the Monkees emblem on the back of her jean jacket and adults my age exclaimed over it ("Oh! Where did you buy that?") wherever she went. Beatles and Monkees record music wafted down our stairs and brought me nostalgic smiles.
Because of Naomi, Tom and I experienced the 1970's all over again. The best parts, really, including nifty retro outfits Naomi wore to school, cooler than ones I ever wore.
The movies and tv commercials she filmed at our house with friends for school projects, the half-birthday sleepovers in a backyard tent, the fashion shows with girls in my collection of 1940's dresses. We had one child, but she brought us many others. Always, our house felt full in every way that mattered.
While Naomi grew up, we had fun. Rampant creativity in every Naomi-touched corner of our lives with lots of glimpses of childhood wonder in those big blue eyes.
Why? Because inside my heart I knew her childhood would flee like sand between my fingers--and it did. I tried so hard to grasp those years, slow them down, but I failed. A young Naomi kept flying past me and although I loved watching her sail by in boats of creativity, always there was that bittersweet ache because, wind blowing through her hair, she sailed too fast.
I loved watching God grow Naomi into her own timely grace.
And so for those few moments of our life and hers, we let Naomi be herself. When Creativity and Imagination knocked at our front door, always they were yanked inside, welcomed and celebrated. And our reward? Those two still visit Naomi, even at age 30, and because she's living with us, just for awhile they are visiting us again. And Life is Good.
Fear is a faulty guide. Wisdom does a better job.
Oh! If you are a fan of Facebook, you simply must watch this amazing video: What if Mary and Joseph Had Facebook? Absolutely loved it.