In the life of my preschooler, her daily story is written in the outfit changes scattered throughout her day. Her story is one of impulsive love, creativity, kindness and joy. It is illustrated with vibrant colors in abstract drawings oozing with passion. Her story is as intentional as it is accidental. It is the story of her young life, of her hopes and dreams and imagination. Such beautiful stories must be told!
Story #1: At breakfast, she kneels on her chair, reaches over her breakfast to put her blanket on the table. She slips, just a little, and she puts her elbow in her cereal bowl. The just poured cereal has flipped over, covering her school clothes as well as her treasured blanket. The scene (outfit) changes begin.
Story #2: I arrive for pick up time at preschool. All of the other nice clean children greet their parents with hugs and “I had a great day…” Big Sister is always the last one out the door. (It takes a long time to cram all your artwork/parent notes/uneaten snack into you backpack and wrinkle it up really well). She typically has her shoes on the wrong feet. The nice ponytail is pulled halfway out and the rest is sticking straight up with what I can only imagine was caused by a glue incident. I expect that she will be covered with a little paint/marker from her eyebrows to her ears, and the back of her hands and her elbows will be splotched from a little fall into the paint plate.
Story #3-6: Quiet time happens at our house about 2pm. You’ll find Big Sister in her room with her door closed. You will hear her music blaring and the stomps, crashes and bangs of a dance party with a herd of horses. Typically, she will change in and out of dress up clothes 3-4 times during her quiet time. Each time she will throw her outfit into a heap in the middle of her floor. When quiet time is over, it is customary to find her in a princess dress, heels, a tiara, and marker make up. If the princess is feeling particularly feisty, she might be dressed in a ninja costume with a sword and many, many bad guy stuffed animals slain throughout her room.
Story #7: When Big brother comes home from school, the neighborhood is her playground. Because dress-up clothes are inappropriate for cruising the neighborhood, she’ll find something else to wear. Today that something is her angry birds Star Wars shirt and hot pink pants. When she pairs that with nice sparkly boots, she’s ready to play.
Story #8: Big brother does competitive swimming, which means lots of time for the family at the pool. Big Sister has specific pool outfits. The criteria is simple: not too hot, not too cold, ok to get wet, fun enough to impress her pool friends, but not so much that it looks like she’s trying to hard. We all know the type.
Story #9: With blankie fresh from the dryer, a full belly, and a clean body, it’s time for the last wardrobe change of the day, Jammies. Jammies are special at our house, sometimes you need “woolies” (warm footed jammies), sometimes you need pretty (dress jammies). Tonight she needed Santa Jammies, because today she’s excited like Christmas! Santa Jammies on, teeth brushed, “one more drink please” accomplished, books read, and a million kisses later, I gather up the clothes that make up the story of her day.
I wonder what story my days tell. In the end, what tidbits of beautiful truth can be gleaned from all I leave behind? Does the empty coffee cup scream of the exhaustion of the toddler, or the restful afternoon with a cup of coffee and a good book. Does the pile of dirty laundry tell the story of a day so busy that it was forgotten, or so productive that it’s the last one. Do the dirty dinner dishes in the sink tell a story of a loving meal prepared as nourishment for the body and soul, or of one hastily thrown together? Are the children tucked into bed knowing they are cherished and loved, or are they there because we are all exhausted and irritated? It is a challenge to weave a story with my day. Somedays, it’s a challenge to simply wake up and walk down the stairs with a smile on my face and a tiny bit of patience.
The story is being written with or without my help. Most days, I’d rather be the author. Today, tomorrow, and every day I will attempt to write my own story. I will try to leave a mark on the day that will impact the life of my family is a strong and real way. I will weave a tale for my children of love, kindness, and intentional happiness. I challenge you to purposefully live out your daily story.
Big Sister has taught me many things, not the least of these is that clothes are meant to be changed, lives are meant to be lived, and Christmas should be celebrated every day!