"Let's do it, sweetie."
That's us playing with Beatrice and her Cookie Monster Play-Doh food thingie-ma-bob yesterday. She was choosing the Play-Doh colors she preferred to play with, and while I manipulated the colors a little, because we don't really have white, it's been fascinating to witness Bea's word and sentence explosion these past few months as well as her daily awareness of the world around her and her path to independence.
Toddler independence that is. No, she's not driving and she won't be getting her own apartment anytime soon because's she's started grad school, but she is crossing that final length of Baby Bridge to Toddlerville and three years old.
Again, fascinating to be a witness to, to be parents of, to be mentors of, to be students of. (Yikes, and Bryce isn't too far behind not that she's a stumble or two away from walking.)
Play-Doh is a genius maker. Plus, it smells good. (What? You don't think so?) It fires the imagination and is cathartic, for those of stable homes filled with love and security, and for those without, like the kids of domestic violence I've worked with at the Walnut Avenue Women's Center (which is where I made my Picasso-esque Play-Doh face you see here).
While we played with Bea yesterday, I made a snowman witch hybrid out of brown Play-Doh (gross, I know) and Bea looked at it and exclaimed:
Right on. The power of imagination.
Tomorrow we're going to Wilder Ranch State Park for an old-fashioned Independence Day and the many themes of independence will be flying high in the sky for me and my family.
The obvious celebration of America's birth and the reveling in individual freedoms, the democratic due process, and beloved expressions like my grandfather's blast from the past, "Hotter than a firecracker on the 4th of July!" [insert what here]
Financial independence, which unfortunately too many of us have taken a backseat to in this post-apocalyptic economic ice age.
Mindful presence and emotional intelligence independence, which takes a lot more work than lip service, but the positive benefits are limitless.
Toddler, teenage and adulthood independence, which share enough collective fireworks to light up the dark corners of the universe.
But Independence Day takes on a whole new meaning when you're dependent on a broken body. Love you, Mom. We'll see you very soon.
Happy 4th of July, Family America. Give yourself a hug, would you? And break out the Play-Doh, too.