My daughter’s imagination runs wild throughout the house, pirouetting and bubbling along within her.
Every object has a personality, a voice, a gender, and a story line. Teacups chatter to tomato sauce bottles. Bottles of shampoo and conditioner have in-depth conversations with Barbie dolls as they cruise the lounge room in a lurid pink toy convertible.
Shoes become boats and jet skis. Open cupboards are transformed into the palaces of princesses and kings.
My mother tells me I used to do the same.
While my son is a contrasting trajectory of almost-hysteric activity followed by periods of gadget-enabled apathy; my daughter is constant low-burning energy. Her tiny mind sees a million stories where others see commonplace tableaux. I have never known her to be bored- her capacity to entertain herself is endless.
I envy her… I remember, right into my teenage years, being entertained more by my own mind than by outside influences. Once I was too old to play with toys, once I no longer needed a physical representation of the characters in my mind, the stories remained; twirling themselves like vines on old trees. Stories paused and stalled when Real Life was so rude as to interrupt my internal narrative, but continued unabated once I was free to daydream again, my mind picking up the thread of them exactly where it was severed last.
I think it’s an unfortunate consequence of growing up, of becoming adult. Fantastical stories are diluted into daydreams. Daydreams, eventually, are replaced with bittersweet memories and interminable worry over the future.
Which leaves another line to add to the prayer for my daughter. May her imagination stay and swell, overwhelm her. Spill itself onto canvas or paper or musical instrument, or whatever else may capture her attention. May that creativity be so colourful, so vivid, that it has no choice but to slosh itself over into the universe that surrounds it.
She continually surprises me.
I know my son in a way I don’t my little girl. He is like me- we are wired the same.
My daughter is an enigma. An ethereal fairy. A cranky ballerina. She knows herself, and makes steadfast declarations according to that knowledge, swayed not by peer pressure or popular opinion.
“It’s a beautiful day”, I offer. We are running errands, my children comfortably strapped in and surveying the outside world as it flashes by. “I like sunny days. They make me happy.”
“Me, too” says my son, examining this concept in the unaffected way five year old’s do. “The rain makes me sad.”
“Me, too” I concur.
“Not me,” says the Bumpy girl. “I like the rain. It’s wet and it makes me happy. It’s good for dancing.”
Cloudy days do indeed make her happy, and she does dance in the rain.
She refuses ice-cream after dinner. She cannot watch documentaries where one animal eats another as it breaks her heart and brings tears to her eyes. She grows up while I’m not looking, morphs into a more amazing creature every day.
She’s awe-inspiring, incredible. I cannot wait to see what she’ll become.