In my newly-rearranged studio, the shelf containing jars upon jars of buttons is just within reach of a certain inquisitive five year old I know and live with. It wasn't the intention, exactly, but I don't mind. I'm happy to share the goodness - there are plenty of buttons to go around, and buttons are fun. One of the best creative tools, don't you think? And so anytime in the past few days as she's come into the studio for this, that or the other thing - mostly to retrieve me - the jars full of sparkly awesomeness have been just too tempting to resist, as she leads me out the door and I follow. She stops every time for a dip into one of the button jars or another. Like a kid at a candy store, as one might say (but buttons are better than candy).
"Can I have a button, Mama?" she asks.
"What do you need it for, Ani?"
"Just because it's beautiful." she replies.
"Sure, Annabel, that's fine." I say, as I try to close the door behind us, and join the family.
"Oh! But can I really have this really, really special one?" she asked, slowed down by one she had deemed extra fancy and awesome, apparently.
"Sure, yes. You can have whatever button you want. Aren't they all so fun?" I say, fully meaning it, but totally distracted and not actually looking at the 'really really special one'. I'm distracted by the dinner that I haven't yet planned out for the encroaching evening, by the oldest child that needs to be picked up from practice before I can attend to dinner, by the dishes that need washing after retrieval but before dinner...by the work I'm leaving behind feeling quite 'undone', by the schedule that feels quite 'too full'...by everything.
A few hours later, after dinner, after retrieval of one child and the dropping off of another, after digging with Annabel and Harper for potatoes for the very dinner I hadn't planned well ahead of time, after a few phone calls and a bit more scheduling and likely some laundry and maybe some cleaning and quite possibly a broken glass (or two) and some vacuuming....I found myself sitting on the couch, near the fire, exhaling deeply as she climbed up next to me, interrupted from her play by my presence.
"Wanna see my really special button?" she asked, with a glimmer in her eye, dirt still under her fingernails and a 4-foot long rainbow silk draped around her shoulders.
"Yes, Annabel, I do. Please show me the very special button." I answered fully.
And she proceeded to pull said special button out of her pocket and tell me a great long tale, as Ani is apt to do. This one was about mermaids, and a Queen of the Mermaids (which she just tonight declared as her Halloween costume plan du jour), and a prince - "the prince in the button" she said with great dramatic flair (again, as Ani is apt to do). Apparently, there was a great battle under the sea with all the creatures of the sea, which had all been worked out in the pre-dinner hours with her wooden animals and dollhouse, with this special button, or rather the prince within it, as a key player in the story. I listened intently, humored by the button I hadn't seen in years but entertained by her story and therefore saying nothing, until Adelaide walked by and skeptically inspected the button.
"That's not a button, Annabel, that's a marble. Mom, who is IN that marble?" she asked, hands on hips, raised eyebrow (while I would like to chalk this up to some eleven year old sass, I wonder how many young men YOU have seen inside a marble/button lately? She was justified in said sass, I say).
Annabel turned to me, wide-eyed with question and wonder at the idea that I might know who this Prince in a Button was, "Ah, well, this young lads name is Joey McIntyre! And this button, it would seem, has been hidden from sight for years and years, buried amongst all the button treasures under the ocean water! But once upon a time, I knew him. Long, long ago, in a land not so very far away, in a town by the sea...."