In the midst of creating summer, I am surrounding myself with all kinds of motivation and inspiration. Even in the midst of all that intentional digging out and digging into the creation-inspiring materials I have amassed, I am still taken by surprise by how and when and where inspiration shows up.
I reached to my bookshelf to grab Pam Allyn's What to Read When to look up a book for some reason I can't even recall now. I was flipping through the section she titled "The Chronological 'When': The Reader's Ladder" where she breaks down children's literature into what is most appropriate for developmental stages of childhood.
(this is an excellent resource, in case you were wondering. found it some time back via Playful Learning)
I came to the section on Six, and I got completely caught up in her description of this enchanting age:
"Many of my favorite characters from children's literature seem to be about six years old. The Frances books by Russell Hoban, the Little Bear books by Else Minarik, and Sheila Rae the Brave and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes are all books about animals personified to seem completely like all the six year olds I have ever known. Frances, Sheila Rae, and Little Bear are all feisty, brave, worried, shy, curious, cuddly, and spirited.
They are totally and utterly themselves, but they need a hand. They will break your heart on some level, for they are trying to be big kids in the world, with their lunch boxes in hand or their backpacks weighing heavily on their shoulders, but they are still so tiny and vulnerable and fragile. Their skin is still soft and luminous, so you can recall what they felt like as newborns. But their teeth are falling out, and they are growing up, which is intense, miraculous, strange, and sometimes even a bit scary."
I think more than anything these incredibly profound words on Six explain why I am so face-like-flint determined to be mindful and hands-on this summer. We've had lots of lazy, spontaneous, whatever-happens-happens summers together, but I just can't shake the feeling that this summer is different.
In a few short months, she'll start First Grade, and I don't know. It feels different. (Is it always this way?) Like the pace will pick up in her long race toward becoming fully and wholly Herself. I just want to grab up all of these summer days that stretch ahead in a mirage of many when in reality they are few, and I want to hold them close and breathe them in and try to convince them that really, there's no hurry.
So I meet her each day in what she loves most - creating and books and silly jokes and cuddling. All that inspiration, all personified by Six.