Aluminum foil, that’s all it was.
“For decoration!” she said. “I want to make something for decoration.”
“Foil is not for playing,” I say. “It is not a toy.”
She turned and walked out of the kitchen and as she did, my heart sank.
Her shirtless little torso (because, age 4), blonde curls bouncing, face hung low; my cold words cut her little curious heart like a knife.
Life is decoration in her world – be it magnets, picture frames, plants, handmade art in some form or another; the girls loves to create. It happens to be one of my favorite things about her. And her pride, oh her pride in her creations.
And today, I wounded that pride. I shot down her wonder in the name of “obedience.”
In the name of “submission.”
In the name of “winning the battle.”
Time and place for all of those things – yes. We’ve encountered 72 of those other times and places today, in fact.
But the battles that make your heart sink, the ones that shoot down positive intent (in the name of play, in the name of art, in the name of beauty, creativity, wonder)… the ones that create wounds in some form or another – those ones are worth a pause.
Must I pick every battle?
I look down at my chopped veggies that I’m about to coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread on my beautifully foiled baking sheet to be roasted.
Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until edges are browned, it says.
But I pause. I pause in the name of presence.
In the name of creating.
In the name of wonder.
In the name of Her.
I peel off a square of foil, fold it hot-dog style, once more in half, and once more. I give it to her and she smiles, not saying a word. I kiss her forehead and walk back into the kitchen to the tune of giddy squeals and rustling foil.
There are, in fact, some battles worth surrendering to.
Foil art being one of them.