I am constantly amazed by how different our three girls are. Same genes, same upbringing, completely varying personalities. As Ruby's character bursts through her blossoming body, a brand new element nudges its way into our family dynamic, all treasures to keep safe, and to enjoy.
Poppy gives and demands affection all day - curling up on my lap whenever she can, whispering sweet nothings into my ear while I sit on the loo, holding my hand to walk across the kitchen. Daisy reserves her love for some quality one-on one time at the end of the day - keeping everything in until I get into bed beside her for 'talkie talkie' before she goes to sleep. Last night, talkie talkie lasted for some considereable time, but I banished the lure of my cool glass of Pinot Grigio Blush calling me from downstairs and gave in to the moment. She had something important to share with me. She keeps a little treasure box beside her bed and inside are all her trophies and collections she goes through every night. I listened as she took out every sparkly sticker, every glass bead, every token of discovery (she goes treasure searching in the school yard apparently!) as she gave me its history and meaning, little gifts from friends, fantastic finds and discoveries. Then we moved on to the more special treasure kept in her music box. This includes a little bell from her mobile above her bed, a special clip, an old earring of mine and a piece of paper. Each one tenderly held and adored. Finally I was allowed to see the creme de la creme. Inside her dressing table drawer (neat as a pin, every item in its place lined up side by side) is a little ceramic box for keeping teeth in before the tooth fairy comes. Inside, two pink sparkly jewels. She spoke in awed whispers. Then everything was neatly put back, lying in wait until tonight's viewing. The treasures of childhood, nuggets of comfort, lessons of love, links to friendships.
(Poppy keeps hers under her pillow - a different one every night, her dressing room drawer a chaotic mess of mass, my discoveries when I hoover their room and find stuff she has hidden under her bed - this can include a wooden spoon, my egg timer, a pair of my pants, and the TV remote control we've been looking for for a week).
And I realise I have my little treasure box of nuggets too - I have a box with scaps of paper and whenever the girls say something funny or important, I write it down and throw it into the box so I don't forget. Every so often I take them out to read - my little treasures, nuggets, memories, comfort. Daisy has offered some classics lately. "Mummy? I wish I was a boy so I could go out to work." This left me feeling just a tad concerned about my status as a role model! She compensated recently by proudly telling her new teacher that her mummy writes for the Irish Times and when asked who she'd rather be - me or her daddy, she replied - not daddy because he's too hairy, but not mummy because she works too hard!"
Last week I was sorting some stuff out in my mum's bedroom, and I came across a bag in the top of her wardrobe. It contained all the letters I have written her over the years, each one lovingly kept, re-read, loved.
We all need our treasures it seems.