She's crouched over this elaborate construction of her own design. Household odds and ends have been collected and organized in odd groupings. None of it makes much sense as I observe from where I am looking down from the treadmill as she plays beside me. I walk endlessly nowhere, huffing and puffing as I accelerate, accelerate, accelerate. She pauses, lingers, tinkers some more. We are a metaphor for our individual lives: me on fast forward, her on pause. I look down and wonder what I am racing for. She looks up at me and smiles.
"Do you like my house mommy?" she asks. "I made it." Her smile is proud. It is a house she has been making. From my perch just above her she gives me the bird's eye tour. This is the kitchen and this is the bedroom and way over here? This is the living room. "See mommy?" she asks. "Do you like my house?"
I assure her she has done a beautiful job, because she has. I love the creativity, the thought, the imagination that has gone into creating this house. I even love the borrowed GI Joe from her brother serving as the daddy of the family. Because, she says matter-of-factly, every house needs a daddy. And I think of the talking heads endlessly arguing over whether daddies are necessary. And I think maybe they should just ask a five year old. She'll answer their questions without spending thousands of dollars on research to prove what her simple heart is telling her. And then I think of my friend who lost the daddy in her house and how sad it is that some homes simply don't have one for whatever the reason.
We don't change much from five to forty, it occurs to me. Deep down I am still trying to make a home out of odds and ends, cobbling together a structure that meets my needs-- being creative at times when I can't do it the obvious way, taking what I have and hoping it will work.
I could've bought my daughter a "Dream Home" and it would've all been done for her. She wouldn't have had to make it herself. And yet, I think that would've cheated her out of the pride and perseverance that came with making this one instead. This one is all hers, it bears the mark of who she is and what she needs, specifically. I am making a home just like she is. From time to time I look up, smile and ask, do You like it?
And my Daddy looks down and answers, "Yes. You're doing a beautiful job." I let His words soak in as I turn back to what I was doing, ever intent on making the most out of what I have, grateful that somehow, it is always enough.