Taylor made some “artwork” a few weekends back, priced it, and attempted to sell it to her younger sister. I was more than a bit suspicious of her motives following an influx of generously stuffed birthday cards she received in the mail. I immediately cut Taylor off and corrected the situation with a cash refund.
She asked me if she could go door to door selling it, and I said “No way.”
Some of it was simple drawing. Some of it was cut origami-esque things pasted or taped up. Others were simply – stickers on a page with a handwritten “theme” above it. Not her best work. Barely “work” at all considering the peel and stick placement techniques. Despite the fact that I didn’t get all the sticker-action, I was disappointed in a lot of the quantity over quality she was pushing out.
So she was mad. MAD. at me for not allowing her out the door with these precious pieces of artwork. And I rolled my eyes and got on with my life.
This evening, as we were getting the house ready to have some friends over for dinner, the artwork resurfaced. She asked if she could “you know… you know… sell my art.”
“Uhhhhmmmm.” I really didn’t want attitude from her. “Ask your father.” I said.
“Why? Why do you say, ‘Ask your father’?”
“Because. I just want him to make the decision.” I had no good explanation except that I didn’t want her venturing outside with those pieces of paper she pumped out and he could be the heavy this time. She retreated and I continued chopping tomatoes.
Apparently, he didn’t actually give a decisive “No.” because she appeared a half hour later with her basket of art and a new sign attached to it:
In the moment I read her sign, I felt a little sick to my stomach. Not because she had this sticker art and I was terrified that she was about to price gauge our friends, but because here I was, telling her NO NO NO. You cant. Essentially ‘thats dumb’ ‘not good enough’ ‘no’ ‘no’ ‘wait til tomorrow’ ‘we’ll see’ and all she wanted to do was help. She was caught in this moment of ‘God knew about the flood. This was no surprise to Him. AND I will do what I can do to help.’ Even if that means using whatever I’ve got – stickers. Stickers she earned for bringing her Bible to church and knowing her memory verse.
I was really shocked at her insight into the Lord’s plan of the flood as we had not discussed it at that specific level at home together. And while I was intrigued by all of it, I still cringed a little as I saw her proudly carry her basket over to our friends tonight to discuss the artwork and tell them she was raising money.
Why? Why should I be embarrassed of that … of my daughter with the big heart, interacting with some of our closest friends? What’s my deal anyway? My embarrassment gave way to gratefulness to my friends who so graciously embraced her fundraising efforts for this evening.
When everyone had left, she sat down and counted out the money. “There are 3 pictures left Mama.” I was sitting on a bench, bent over watching her.
Mmmm. Sticker art. My favorite. I could have told her Wow! Great job! Maybe you can deal with the rest tomorrow! But, inspired by my friends tonight, I instead bought them all so she could officially have a “sold out” kind of show. I paid her as she sat and counted out the money.
$50 on the nose. Unbelievable. “I’m so glad you didn’t tell me ‘Well, maybe tomorrow’ again. Thank you mama!”
Whoa. My head was in my hands. Hot tears flooded out of my eyes, as they are again right now for at least the fifth time in the past three hours just thinking about it. Between you & me, I could have thrown that stuff in the trash last week. And I thought about it. I wondered if she would miss it and if ‘out of sight, out of mind’ would prove itself true. Where did my selfish pride come from? Why have I put so much weight into wondering what people would think, rather than what would happen in my own child’s heart and mind and soul to be able to do something for someone else.
Tonight, as she said her bedtime prayers, she thanked God for our friends who bought her art and then she thanked God for using her to help others. I couldn’t even speak by the time she finished. I am broken in realizing how proud I’ve been and that I’ve hindered her. I am grateful God used her in spite of my own selfishness to accomplish a work for another family, and to affirm His work in Taylor’s heart, and then in my own. I never want to be guilty of trying to stand in His way.
She wrote a note to the person she is gifting this to and practically danced through the house tonight giggling and saying, “I can’t WAIT to wake up tomorrow and get to give this to them!”
She’s not the giggly dancy quick-to-do much of anything kind of kid. She takes everything at a Southern pace like her mama. But I think we’ve discovered something that makes her tick and get all giggly and dancy and silly. Giving. The beauty is that SHE see’s it as what it REALLY IS; God working through her. And then she thanked Him for it. For using her.
What a precious lesson to learn at the age of 8. I stand in awe, and am reminded to get out of the way.
God had a plan for the flood. I never could have dreamed it might effect me like this.
P.S. She wanted to help 4 specific families. We told her she absolutely could. So, if you see her and dodge her path, it’s okay, I understand. Just know that she will be busy this week and next making tissue paper flowers, and if you have any interest at all, well, you know how to find her.
I think my summer just got interesting.