Erin designed, built, and decorated her own house the other day.
She thought it out, carefully constructed it, and intently decorated it.
All on her own.
I came upon the finished construction in a bit of a daze, having just spent 20 minutes scrolling through hundreds of pictures of laundry rooms on Pinterest. Hundreds. And I closed the iPad more confused and overwhelmed than when I typed “laundry room makeover” in the small search box, dependent upon others’ creativity to spark my own.
I looked at her beaming with pride in front of her accomplishment, and it struck me that she had made the whole house without consulting a single outside source. The entire thing had been built as a testament to her strong sense of self. And I quickly realized what a shining example that was to me.
I love that she built it the way she did. It’s hers. From start to finish. From the green and silver duct tape to the bright red swirling star in the entry. From her “please knock” welcome on the jagged carved door to the purple streamers hanging in open air windows.
It came from her heart and her soul. It was crafted with her spirit. She used what she had. She made her own decisions. She trusted her own sense of style. She allowed herself to be creative.
And she did all of it with confidence, enthusiasm and joy.
There was no Pinterest involved. No replicating. No comparing to what others had done.
I let her house sit in the middle of the family room for several days, so that each time she passed it she could beam with pride. And so each time I passed it, I was reminded of the precious lessons to be learned from a confident third grader and flimsy cardboard. Somewhere along the way I have forgotten how to trust my own instincts, often becoming paralyzed by indecision. I don’t remember how to take risks without concern about others may think. I’ve ignored outlets for creativity.
Erin’s house is a tribute to the valuable lesson in trusting ourselves. And clearly I have a great deal to learn from her.
I am pretty sure that one day when she is all grown up she will have a lovely house. It won’t be made of cardboard, but it will be a warm and lovely home filled with her spirit and that of those she shares it with. One day she’ll likely want to makeover her own laundry room and I am sure she will tackle it creatively, with her own sense of style, and with unyielding confidence in her choices. On that day I will think back to her as an eight year old girl beaming from inside her cardboard house.
And I will grab a paintbrush and be happy to help, grateful to be learning from her example once again.