We had quite the surprise on Saturday morning.
I’m sleeping peacefully, minding my own business, when suddenly the door bursts open, the light from the kitchen shining directly on my face. Is there a more horrible way to wake up than a light suddenly shining directly on your face? I squint over at the clock: 6:30 a.m. I’m feeling extra grumpy, but before I can put the pillow over my face and yell at her to close the door, Evie says brightly, “Happy St. Lucia Day!”
It was one of those Sixth Sense-moments, where a hundred little flashbacks run through my head and all is made clear: her insistence on making scones the day before, the way she asked the date 3 times a day every day that week, her desperation over not being able to find her old white dress, her panic at not having clean leggings when I was tucking her into bed.
She had secretly assembled this costume and prepared for St. Lucia day, without so much as a whiff of this tipping us off. Look at the detail on that crown: she finger knit the main part and then obtained her own materials to make the holly leaves and berries. I’ve never seen those holly leaves. This girl is a 7 year old; to say I was surprised doesn’t say the half of it.
But it goes back *so* much further than that.
Now, if you’re like me, you have no idea what St. Lucia Day is. Allow Wikipedia to explain:
The custom involves the eldest daughter arising early and wearing her Lucy garb of white robe, red sash, and a wire crown covered with whortleberry-twigs with nine lighted candles fastened in it awakens the family, singing Sankta Lucia, serving them coffee and saffron buns (St. Lucia buns), thus ushering in the Christmas season.
And arise early our eldest daughter did, waking up at 4:55 a.m. so as not to miss her chance to surprise us. “Sorry,” she said, “I couldn’t make the coffee. And they’re supposed to be St. Lucia buns, but I have scones instead. And I didn’t think I should light candles.”
Until about a year ago, I had never heard of St. Lucia Day. However, Evie read a book about it, and it really captured her imagination.
(I found this picture when writing this post, but now that I look at it, I can’t help but notice the pose is *identical* to the one Evie struck above. As we’re talking about Evie here, I have no doubt that even the picture was part of her plan.)
She has talked endlessly of St. Lucia Day since reading that book. She read that book last Christmas. She has been planning for this moment since last Christmas. My 7-year old daughter has the wherewithal and attention span to plan a surprise and keep it a secret for A YEAR.
Don’t believe me?
You see that red ribbon she used for a belt? You know how she got that ribbon? She asked for it for her birthday. Last August. I really couldn’t understand why she was insisting on ribbon. “What do you want it for?” I asked. “For my projects,” she replied. What she didn’t say was, “I have a surprise planned four months from now, and that surprise takes red ribbon. I’m 6, just turning 7, and I can’t exactly just borrow the car and get what I need, so I’m going to have to find other ways.”
How can I compete with that? What is she going to be able to accomplish when she’s older? How can I keep her from pulling the wool over my eyes when she’s already capable of year-long con jobs? HOW DO I EVEN KNOW SHE’S MY DAUGHTER AND NOT JUST SOME EVIL MASTERMIND USING ME FOR HER OWN DIABOLICAL PLANS?
Sara: “Isn’t it nice when all your plans work out?”
Evie, ominously: “That’s not ALL my plans.”