“I just want to pop into the Hallmark store,” I told my 11-year-old daughter. “They have those socks I like and I have a coupon.”
My daughter asked to stay home.
I was a bit surprised. After all, days earlier she and I had hit the mall and scored quite the haul during the after Christmas sales. I thought that shopping trip was the start of many more mother-daughter trips now that she was a tween, heading toward the teenage years.
But she was still only 11 years old, I reminded myself. How much retail therapy did a 5th grader need? Obviously, not as much as her midlife mom.
I got the socks at the Hallmark store. I missed the fun of shopping with my compatriot, but I still persevered. When I returned home, I realized how silly I’d been to wish my daughter had come.
That’s because she was prone on the floor, with about 30 Squinkie toys displayed around her in groups. Excitedly, she told me about the world she had created.
These Squinkies were the sporty ones, she pointed out. This group were the princesses, the others were a mishmash group, and so on. Each group had a theme and an impressive backstory, which my daughter told me with glee.
The shopping buddy I thought I missed evaporated, replaced by the blissful image of a little girl who stayed at home to create, dream, and play.
I know that maybe next year, probably in two years, and definitely in three years, this little girl will be gone. I will miss her as her body and mind will be transformed by hormones and age.
The Squinkies will collect dust. She will come shopping with me more often. We will buy mundane things like socks.
So here’s to being 11 years old. To playing. To staying home to create a fantastic world with Squinkies.
I love you, my daughter.
Now, go play.