Emma wants to paint her room and make some changes to what furniture she has (get rid of the clunky desk and trade it in for a bench with storage). I'm all for renovating (we're not really renovating, but that's what we are calling it since we watch HGTV). I love changing things. I also love negotiating.
I told Emma we could make the changes to her room if she got rid of stuff. A lot of stuff. A whole lot. Emma is a dangerous combination of sentimental and creative. She was very prolific as a child, filling notebooks with stories and drawings. She used more glue and tape than any ten children and if I ever needed the scissors or stapler or hole punch, chances were they were in her room. She is also as stubborn as anyone you'll ever meet and when I suggested my terms for the painting, she started to dig in her heels and tell me that she didn't want to get rid of ONE THING.
I said, "OK. That's fine." And I walked away.
But then, I had her. Because she wanted to paint her room. (It is so rare that I win in these situations!)
For the first step, I dragged three enormous boxes labeled EMMA out of the dungeon. (The dungeon is our very aptly named storage room in the basement.) I instructed Emma to go through the boxes and get rid of what she could. The boxes hadn't been touched in nearly two years. I was betting she didn't need what was inside.
Emma made three piles. A (quite large) keep pile, a throw away pile and a give away pile. She eliminated one whole box which was progress! (Now we can fill that box up with stuff she's unwilling to part with, but willing to box up from her room. Baby steps I tell you.)
I was looking at the give away pile and deciding what her cousins may be interested in. In her throw away pile, my eyes landed on a notebook. It was one of many notebooks in the pile but it looked familiar. It was the dialogue journal she and I wrote to each other when she was 9. It obviously means more to me than it does to Emma. She threw it away, but to me it is a treasure.
There are lots of pages like this:
I would write something quick (I was busy) and Emma would write something long. Usually a description of her dreams. No one could describe their dreams like Emma! I finally would tell her she could only tell me her dreams if it took under 30 seconds. Writing them was a good solution.
I just loved looking through her writing and remembering those home schooling years when my children were the center of everything. It was a bustling, immersive time. I would end most days with an ache from the tension between my shoulder blades. There were lots of power struggles and tears but also a lot of cuddling up to read together. There was that irresistible thrill of seeing my children understand something I was teaching them. It was magical and just plain hard. I wouldn't trade a minute of it.
I wish I'd realized how fast it would fly by.
It's been a while since I've been invited to a tea party but I know to still knock before entering. Girlie loves her privacy.