Aftie has been creating again. She couldn't bare to part with her collection of sticks a few Fridays ago at the park. Initially, I cautioned her after noticing a stick twirling from her outstretched arm with complete disregard for the little heads in close proximity.
"Aft, you need to play with the stick in a place where there are no kids, or I'll have to take the stick away."
She semi-heard me, choosing not to look at my "warning face," but to stare at the way she caused the irregular form of her stick to twist in the air by rolling it in her fingers. The top of the crooked branch moved slowly as it rolled to the top of it's ellipse, then quickly back around to it's starting point.
Once a safe distance was secured between her and the other playmates, I took a moment to prepare myself for the upcoming battle of “stick separation anxiety” that occurs when we enter the car after a park trip, then quickly resumed chatting with the other moms. Mom Chatting is a past time I rather enjoy, and with the ideal weather and shady conditions, park time stretched into the hours. By the time I finally rounded up the posse for our nap-inducing drive home Afton’s stick collection had increased by 500%.
Before Afton climbed in the car I broke the news. “Afton, we are going to have to leave those sticks here so someone else can have a turn with them.”
“But mom, they are for my scarescrow.”
Afton had been inspired earlier that day by a scarecrow face decoration Dallin’s kindergarten teacher had planted in the dirt outside his classroom. I was going to insist again that the sticks be left behind, but grew soft to her plans (which I figured would be forgotten by the time we got home like so many 4 year old ideas are.)
But she stayed awake, with sticks in palm and idea fresh in her mind until, 30 minutes later, I dug some rubber bands out of a drawer and sat down to ease her frustration at not being able to tie the sticks together properly with a small piece of blue curling ribbon. Despite myself, I had been sucked in by her enthusiasm and began to enjoy my part in the project.
She requested some orange paper to make the face and about 20 pieces of paper later, settled on the yellow face with the cute hair. I then cut and taped it into place while she picked out the wardrobe--shorts and shirt underneath, with a favorite dress-up gown on top. To avoid the overly-limp look, we then stuffed her with wadded papers torn from one of those huge open-enrollment insurance books that come in the mail.
By then I had adopted into my own vocabulary her mispronounced “scarescrow” title and the new friend officially became “Princess Afton Scarescrow.”
Ribbon hair attached so Princess Afton can wear barettes.
Cleaning up the mess is what I felt I should have been doing rather than securing sticks in the form of a scarescrow. But then, what would I be remembering today?
Princess Afton lived a life of just beyond 1 week. She was danced with, conversed with, taken on car rides, and even shared a sleeping spot next to her creater and friend. Her death was caused by a slow leaking of her stuffed paper innards all over the house and several broken appendages. She was loved and will be remembered for her great ability to listen.