My daughter made a nest in the middle of the living room. It consists of lots of pillows, tons of blankets, and a few big pieces of foam my husband brought home from work for her. (He knew she would find something to do with them.) She sits in the middle of it all with her stuffed animals and her books and her cat and plays. She plays, because she is ten. It makes me happy. The nest has been there for days and I think she hopes to leave it for the whole winter and I might never get my living room back again, but it makes me happy. Because she is still a little girl and she is acting like a little girl.
Sometimes I think we live in a strange world. A world that overprotects kids and hovers over them and doesn't want them to walk down the street by themselves. But it is also a world that dresses little girls like mini adults and expects them to be done with dolls and toys before they need to be. Where is the balance in that?
What do I want for my daughter? Of course I want happiness, that goes without saying. But I also want her to be strong and independent. I don't want her to turn to me all the time. She needs to stand on her own two feet. If that means she trips over them a few times in the process of learning, that is fine. You can't learn if you don't fail a little bit. I want her to keep getting up again. I want her to walk down the street by herself. I am not always going to be there to hold her hand.
I want her to be herself. I want her to have the strength to do what she wants. Sometimes the world tries to squeeze you into a mold. Even little girls can feel that. You should dress a certain way and talk a certain way and like certain things. I want to teach her that being different is fine. Being different can be great.
I don't want her to be in a hurry to grow up. There are plenty of years ahead for makeup and boys and cellphones and worrying about what she look like. (I don't ever want her to worry about what she looks like, but let's face it, she will.) I want her to be a kid because being a kid is awesome.
I want her to make nests in the living room and run around outside and get grass stains on her knees. I want her to go to sleep hugging her stuffed bunny and I want her to wake up without worrying about what her hair looks like.
I want balance for her. I want to teach her to grow up without forcing her to before she is ready. I want to be there to comfort her when she falls but I want to have the strength to let her fall. I want confidence for her, the confidence that someone is there to help her if she needs it but that same someone is sure she can handle it on her own. Security. I want security for her.
I want wisdom. The wisdom to let her be a kid while teaching her how to be an adult.
I want nests on my living room floor for just a little while longer.