This is what Eliza said to me this morning. It wasn't the first time, but this time I sighed, looked around, saw two boards inexplicably sitting under the table in the living room, and said, would you be happy putting some nails into these? Apparently she was. Very happy.
I would have loved to walk her out to The Shop, show her the gallery of tools and settle down to a nice fall project like building a birdhouse, but...well, you know! Some day we'll live near all the relatives who are inclined to have things like shops and tools, but for today, this was enough. (The hammer she used, by the way, was a birthday present for me from my dad!! It is awesome - inside the handle there are 3 hidden screwdrivers, and it's painted with flames, for super-fast hammering.) As she hammered (we figured out that she could make a geo-board - I think that's what they're called? - hammering in a sort of pattern, intended for making designs with yarn or rubber bands), I told her about all of the wonderful carpenters we have had in our family - my grandfathers (one of whom is in his nineties and still works at Habitat for Humanity several days of the week; the other of which made the beautiful housing for the clock that hangs on our wall), my uncle, my cousin's husband, my brother-in-law, to list just a few. It must have struck her that there were no women in that list - in her typical enthusiasm, she declared (while hammering in nail #3), "I will be the family's first girl carpenter!!". You go, girl.
She knew enough about carpentry anyway to announce a coffee-break partway through (chamomile tea in her case) and after pounding 30-some nails, she was happy with her board and went to work making designs.
Of course it looked like so much fun, we had to make a second for sister...
It was a nice ending to a fun-filled weekend - on Friday, Eliza and I dropped Ani off at Dan's office on campus and we went to an exhibit at the Kennedy Art Museum. Mark Dion had curated a collection of Ohio University's stuff - animal skulls, old movie reels, diagrams of flowers from the old science classrooms, x-rays of starfish...you know, cool stuff. There were also collections of tiny things from members of the community - thimbles, salt and pepper shakers, doll houses, four-leaf clovers...we loved the whole thing. We took our nature journals along and did a little drawing. I love that time alone with my girl. Saturday night we went to the monthly contra dance on campus, and while Ani snuggled on my lap and watched, Eliza and Dan danced up a storm. She just glows with confidence and joy - she knows the moves, remembers the order, is comfortable with switching partners; for the last dance before we left she even went up and asked a new friend (ie: dog-walker from our neighborhood - who else?!) to be her partner for a whole dance, in a separate line from Dan. She had a blast. Today she and Dan went swimming together at the OU pool while Ani and I had a walk by the river...it was a gorgeous break in the cloudy day, and we were joined by groundhogs, geese and heron...lovely.