I spent Sunday morning and afternoon spring-cleaning with my daughter. It was her prompting that began the session. On a whim she declared, "Mom, I'm going to clean my room.” At 9 years old, she's maturing faster than I can bear. When she told me that she was going to go donate her old toys and babyish books, I was touched by her generosity, but fearful of what her process of elimination would be. At the moment she's more interested in keeping her series of American Girl books about young girls changing bodies than Counting Kisses.
She emptied the books from the six shelves of her bookshelf onto her bed and I gasped quietly wanting to step in, but respectful of her need to make decisions. She pulled a Barbie book out of the pile like she was making the first move in Jinga. No objections there, I consoled myself. Then she reached for Good Night Moon and I hastily offered my assistance, but she insisted on doing it on her own. I left her to make the hard choices and busied myself in the kitchen.
I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by babyish books, but I was certain she was going to toss a few picture books - which have always held such meaning for me. They’ve always transported me back to my childhood, my children’s infancies and their earlier years.
After an hour of sorting she came to me looking a little overwhelmed and said, "Mommy, I need help". When I saw her bed it still had a pile of books and old toys on it and I wondered if she'd eliminated anything. She needed me…still needed my guidance. She told me that all of the books to keep were on the bed, but she'd put a large bag of books for donation by the front door.
We worked together as I helped her separate pre-school activity sheets from kindergarten photos. We culled the stuffed animals and jewelry boxes and we decided to put some things away in a large memory box.
We were finally ready to put the books she’d decided to keep back on her bookshelf. She tippy toed and started stacking them on the highest shelf. I was relieved when I saw some of my favorites in her hands. She’d saved almost all of my treasures. I bent down to organize her art supplies on the bottom level. She glanced down at me and said, "Look Mom, I kept your Mr. books, and the book grandma gave me, and the one you liked the pictures in because I knew you'd want them."
At 9 years old, she's maturing faster than I can bear.
Carol Higgins-Lawrence wrote her first story at the age of five. Her father paid her a quarter for it and she's been writing ever since. She's taken a variety of courses in writing for children. Multicultural perspectives are of particular interest to her. Carol is of Jamaican descent and was born and raised in Canada. She has a BA in Communications and Sociology and she has completed coursework towards a MA in TESOL. She has worked as a literacy educator for the past 15 years. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children. You can visit her website at carolhl.weebly.com
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