Monday, August 5, 2013

Who says you can't be 8 again? --Maya Donenfeld

I was reading my friend Maya D's blog post about her Creativity Camps this morning when I stumbled upon this line, "Who says you can't be 8 again?" Yes. Who says? Maybe that is part of the reason I started BraveGirlsArt, in order to allow my inner child to rise back to the surface. A bit of a do-over? Or because she wasn't ready to grow up back in 1977 and I wanted to keep her around. I tell my boys all the time, I'll never grow up because I choose to stay young at heart. And it's true. I keep my 8-year old self close by to remind me of childhood wonder, to take note of the simple things, to live my life in a similar state of grace and awe. 

There was a lot of that this week--grace and awe. There is grace in Madi and Ella's friendship. I love getting the opportunity to watch the two of them together. Ella comes from Pennsylvania each summer to spend a week with Madi and attend BraveGirlsArt Summer Camp. They have a really special friendship. I adore the way they compliment each other constantly through the process of creating. The way they put their heads together and talk softly. The way they giggle. I love their Best Friends panda necklaces, and the bond they have created and kept despite the distance between them all year. It's a beautiful thing, friendship.

There was grace in the patience these girls had with each other. They waited patiently for a turn to tell their stories to the typewriter, they waited patiently for a turn on the trampoline, they waited patiently for me to explain new projects, and they waited patiently for their bodies to cooperate as they learned new yoga poses each day. 

There was grace in the bonds of friendships that blossomed over 4 days. On Day 1, I watched them watch each other. Cautiously sizing each other up in those first moments in a new place. I could put myself in their shoes: "Who is similar to me? Will I measure up? Will I find a friend here? Is anyone going to like me? Will I be accepted?" By the last day they were writing notes to each other on the typewriter. I read words like, I am so glad we are friend. I would like a play date with you. You are so pretty and caring and kind. There is grace, right there in those words.

And there was awe, there is always awe! 

When we traced our bodies on giant rolls of brown paper and stood up--those outlines always bring a gasp and a giggle or two. That's ME? Look at my hair! Look at my hands. I look like I am dancing! 

Awe when we tore the painter's tape off the painted canvas to reveal the white space.

They looked like paintings that could hang on the walls of the MoMA. Stunning! 

There was awe that our simple pieces of driftwood could become such beautiful necklaces. Awe in our ability to draw a fantasy treehouse. Awe when our giant collaborative mural was cut into tiny pieces to become mini books. Awe when we found out another girl liked the same food, the same color, the same music as we do. Awe when we saw how salt and crayon react with watercolor. Awe when we discovered the brass bowl could sing. Awe when (they) did back handsprings on the trampoline. 

And I am always in awe when the girls agree to our invitation to read out loud. We wrote silly collaborative stories on paper bags one day. Each girl started with a first line and they passed the bags to their left. The second girl wrote the next line and so on and so on. There were some pretty outrageous, funny stories. Maya brought a microphone and a small amplifier on day 3 and we asked them to volunteer and read their stories to each other. Every single girl did it. Even the ones who were shy. Even the ones who were worried about reading. They took their turn at the microphone one by one, and there was much applause and cheering after they did it. 

It was my turn to be in awe of their bravery.


A gift made for me by Ella. A reminder.

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