I picked Rebecca up from preschool on Monday. She was dressed in her usual; knee-high pink cowgirl boots, striped orange and green flowing skirt, Little House on the Prairie bonnet tied around her neck, and purple t-shirt. She also had on a big smile as I approached the door of her school to sign her out for the day. I usually try to bring my art supplies on the afternoons I spend with her, but this time I also brought a gift a friend of mine had sent for Rebecca.
We have a routine. I help her get strapped into her booster in the back seat. I ask her, "What did you do today?" She replies, "Nothing." A few minutes later, with an eye on the rear view mirror, I asked, "What did you learn today?" With a big grin, she answers, "Nothing." I say, "You mean those teachers just let you all run wild all day?" and she says, "Yup."
Next comes playground news. Rebecca announced , "I made a ship to sail across the sea. We didn't let any boys get on. It was for girls only." I tell her about always being kind and not excluding other kids. Rebecca says they finally let the boys ride, but the girls still owned the ship.
"Oh, no Grandma. I'm out of gum. Can we go buy some more?" I say sure. I keep a pack of gum for both she and Aiden. They keep their gum in the small indentation in the armrest of each of their sides of the back seat. We drive to the convenience store, Rebecca skips through the store, stopping in front of the gum display. Today it's grape Bubbleicious.
As we are getting out of the car at her house, I tell her I have a present for her from my good friend, Jan Maria. She unsnaps the seat belt, climbs over the seat and lands on my lap. We laugh and disentangle, I pop the trunk, and go around to get my watercolor paper and her present. Once inside, I hand it to her. There is a small, soft-bodied fairy doll tied to the bow. Inside, the prettiest fairy paper dolls we've even seen. And wings and a mask. The paper dolls are glossy, double sided, beautifully painted, with clothes that fit over their heads so they stay put and little flower purses, dresses, daisy crowns, and great little stands so they don't flop over.
For the next two hours, on her knees on the chair, head bent over the table, Rebecca delicately popped the dolls, dresses, and accessories out of the book. She set me to work with an ultra fine black Sharpie drawing bedrooms with flowered bedspreads for the girl fairies. We worked feverishly until dinner and then I helped her attach the child sized wings to her back. I remembered how much I loved paper dolls when I was little. I even made my own by cutting out the hand drawn babies out of the Sear catalog. I felt happy and so content. So lucky to have this little girl in my life. It was a very good day