It’s going to happen anyway. The days tick by, the weeks, the years. Some way or another, her childhood will happen, it will become a mixture of memories and smells and feelings she knows she had, some vague, some vivid. In those crucial formative years, her beliefs and strengths, and the way she feels about herself, will form, soft at first but cementing, day by day.
What is so wonderful about these childhood days is that they don’t just have to happen. I can weave some magic into tomorrow. I can set the mood for the moment. I can help her discover what makes her happy. I can create a childhood. I can paint the backdrop scene for her time with me. I have a vision of what I want it to look and feel like.
I know what I want it to look like. I want it to be bright and colourful and clear. I want as much time with her in the bush, at the beach, in dark starry-filled nights, in backyard sun. I want her to discover that the love of her Heavenly Father is there in the pink sky and the camellia blooms. I want to see her joy with jars of lizard pets and worm friends and see her making houses for them. I want to introduce her to wonderful people from the world over, to taste foods from Seoul and Spain .
I have a vision of unhurried, unmeasured play. To let her go explore, to protect her gentleness, to lift up her goodness. If it’s able to be dreamed, we can do it. We can swim in a winter’s sea, and catch a possum for a “pet”. Freedom for her innate acts of expression and heartfelt displays of emotion. I wish her to wake to the excitement of every day. To know silence can be joy, and that learning comes from a deep love affair with curiosity. I want her to take time, to be steady, that she isn’t rushed from her naps or her soft toys. I want her life to be filled with that familiarity of all-loving and all-supportive family faces. That she builds memories of special talks and hide and seek games and tickles with aunts and grandparents and cousins. That the playlist of her mind will sound the love of A Child’s Prayer, our late-night lullabies, a repertoire of nursery rhymes and the soothing string-plucks of her grandfather’s Beatles melodies.
Creating a childhood is also about protecting. To be vigilant with what she sees and hears. To turn off the television when her mind doesn’t have the emotional maturity to understand a theme or conversation which could really harm her developing view of the world. I understand that fears are fostered all too easily if I let the news play as her background noise every night. Creating a childhood means making a safe haven from the world. To have the spiritual protection of the Spirit in the decisions I make about the childhood I’m painting for her.
Her mind, her soul, is a sponge today. At four, she can soak up the scripture phrases which will breathe comfort to her for years to come. She will remember my smile when she was so sure she would turn to see a frown. Perhaps she’ll recall the feelings of unabated safety she felt as she rested in my arms. I pray that my vision will expand as I take time to look through her eyes. That as I feel the needs of her developing spirit, I will be able to fill her heart and mind with the tools, the songs and the smiles of a beautiful childhood. It’s going to happen anyway, but with some careful planning, the simple melody of her childhood can sound with the richness of a stunning symphony.