What is it that little girls dream of when they sleep? They do not go happily to their rest, for what a pity it would be if they should miss something important. “Would you like me to lie down with you?” I say…in an effort to ease her into dreamland. “No, I’ll just read,” she replies. And as she turns each page of the book that came in her kid’s meal, she imagines and makes up the words to fit with the pictures as she sees them.
“You just stay over there, Aunt Tonja,” she commands, with a flip of her hand to the couch behind the daybed. And, so I do. I stay over here, and write on my laptop. “Too quiet,” I think…and choose a Norah Jones CD from my files and begin to play it softly. Her head swivels to look at me. “Aunt Tonja, are you singing over there?” she asks. (Oh, that I could sing like Norah Jones) “Why? Is it bothering you?” I ask. “No,” she says, “I like it.” (I’ll just let her think I sound like an angel a little longer…she’ll find out soon enough) And, I heard no more.
Her grandmother stuck her head in to see if she was off to dreamland. I got up to make a picture, and as I sat back down and picked up my laptop, I began to think back.
Since she came in this morning, we had….. opened up the new toys she saw and separated the ones for JT from the ones for her…..gone to the potty…..walked out to the pool to try out the fishing net and fish…..got the bottom of her shorts wet…..took shorts off…..tied up shirt so it would not get wet……bent down too far and got panties and shirt wet…..went to the potty…..went back outside to gather up toys because she was ready to go inside…..changed her clothes…..had a snack of lemonade and animal crackers…..go to the potty……go into the studio to open up the toy drawer and pull out her favorites…..she needed paper…..she needed the colored pencils sharpened…..she drew…..I drew…..we sang together…..we pasted…..we talked about her mother and her sisters and her daddy……we looked at the pictures on my computer (most especially the ones of her)…..went to the potty…….we went for a ride in her grandmother’s NEW CONVERTIBLE!!!!!…..we stopped at Chick -Fil-A…..we let the wind blow through our hair (until the rain started)……we made up a song about the rain…….we came home and ate…….and that’s when Nap Time rolled around.
I wonder if she’s dreaming of riding in her little motorized police car, or maybe she’s imagining swimming in the pool. Or having fun with her sisters, or watching the dog shows with Alex. Is she dreaming of dancing under the stars, or riding on a pony? Or maybe eating all the chocolate ice cream she can hold. Is she reliving her fun at Disney World, or perhaps playing in the snow when she went to the mountains. Perhaps, she is swimming with the dolphins that play on her shirt.
Oh! She just raised her head and looked over here at me. “You quit singing,” she said with a sleepy voice.”I’m sorry. Lay back down and listen,” I replied. She did and I pressed play. Music filled the room, and off she went…back to finish out those dreams.
She lasts about 20 more minutes in Dreamland…and then it’s over. “Aunt Tonja, can we do something?’ she says quietly. “What would you like to do ?” I asked. She answered me with determination in her voice,” Well, I got lots of work that I have to do. And, I need paper and paper…and paint.” I jumped in quickly here because painting requires advance planning and that was not in the plans for today…”No, my dear, painting another day…but not today.” “Cause we can’t paint when it’s raining, right?” she said. Not really into long discussions today, I said, “Well, it is raining, and we can’t paint.” “OK”, she said, “I’ll just take markers.” “Lucy Jane,” I say, “do you ever get to use markers here at my house?” “No,Ma’am…..I..I..meant I wanted the pencils that have the colors,” she said. “Well, you’ve just had a grand idea,” I say,”Let’s get out those colored pencils”. And, we pulled out the colored pencils…the short ones and the long ones and the paper…and she set about to do her ‘work’. “Aunt Tonja, you just look after Minnie, OK?” And, I was relegated to mouse sitting. She was in the corporate world and I was in Childcare!
Now in case you are not aware…’work’ is very peculiar if you are 3. It consists of taking a magazine and putting a sheet of paper inside…then putting it in the foyer…and repeating it 5 times. So there are now 5 magazines lying on the floor. Go back and take all the paper out, but leave the magazine. Then make some marks on each paper, and reinsert them into the magazines. Then she took 3 CDs and put them on top of the mags. Oh, I imagine it could have gone on and on. Now, even though I did not understand one little bit about what she was doing…she knew…and that’s really all that mattered.
How many little girl’s are there in this world that have similar ideas running around in their head. Things they would like to try. Things they would like to experience. Things that would serve to further fill their little brains with information about the world they live in…and about themselves…and how they fit into in this world. Oh, the possibilities in a little girl’s mind! But, they will never have a chance. Perhaps there is illness that stands in the way. Or perhaps poverty. Maybe there is just indifference from the parent. Maybe the child has learned it’s better not to ask. Or maybe their life is so deprived they don’t even have dreams to dream. And, that would be the saddest thing of all.
But, the little girl who spent the morning with me is full of life and dreams and beautiful smiles. She is blessed to be surrounded with family and friends who love and care for her. She will never know want. And, there will always be someone around to answer her questions. And lead her in the right direction. And stand ready with hugs when needed…..me included!
“Lucy Jane, I’m so glad you are my friend. I love you!”
(sitting in Alex’s chair waiting for him to put on the ‘dog shows’…which are a set of around 50 beautiful pictures that Adam took of Scooter right after we found out he was sick. She loves to watch these over and over.)
And, now all the little toys and things she likes to play with are put back in the bottom drawer that is reserved just for her. There is no sign that a little girl spent a morning here and played and sang and worked. But, it all lays there waiting for her to come and bring them to life once more. See you soon, my sweet, little friend.