Earlier this week, the kiddos and I showed up at our weekly park date to someone commenting on our unschooling ways. One of my children wore no shoes, another monster slippers and the third a costume. I let them choose what they wear and most of the time run little interference. My kiddos have a lot of choices in their lives, and I like it that way. This is not always easy for me. I cringe sometimes when I see what my kiddos plan or what they want to wear. I take a deep breathe and then let it go.
This weekend Aine was invited to a birthday party for a friend. We talked a bit about a gift for her friend. Aine's eyes lit up as she claimed she knew exactly what she wanted to give her. She ran into her playroom and came back with a little dog and carrier. I hesitated a moment while my thoughts collected. I looked into Aine's gleaming eyes and said that would be a great gift. But as I said it I wondered if I shouldn't buy the child a gift at the store or give a gift card too. Was a handed down gift acceptable? Would the other family think us odd? Was my continual mantra of handmade, handed down or hand picked too much? Did it really matter what I thought?
Aine proceeded to gather the dog's accoutrements together. With a newspaper end roll at her side, she sat down on the kitchen floor and wrapped her gift. She could only find black electrical tape from her brother's bin, so she used it. A quick note was written with a birthday wish. She used notebook paper instead of the stacks of construction or craft paper. Again she knew she wanted the paper to have holes, so her friend could hang it.
As we walked into the skating rink for the party, Aine was so proud of her gift. She confidently carried it up to her friend wanting her to open it right away. Instead we set it on the table with the other pink, purple and glittery gift bags. At the close of the party, her friend opened her gifts. She opened the gift from Aine first after much urging from my little girl. It was a huge hit despite the wrapping and the lack of a store box. Aine knew her friend would love her gift, and she was right.