“I cannot wait to give it you, Momma.” My daughter’s excitement rippled through the room. Her exuberance  captured as her brown hair flew in all different directions. She twirled in and out of my office eager to reveal her “treasure.”

“I want to give it you before your birthday, Momma.”

“No, honey. Why don’t you wait? I promise you can give it to me soon.” My answer appeared to satisfy her.

On Friday, almost 2 weeks ago, with her hands clasped behind her back she raced down the stairs and told me to close my eyes. As she placed her gift in my open palms, she said, “I made it all by myself. And Daddy helped, just a little bit.”

I opened my eyes and the palette of colors stared back at me. She announced with loud enthusiasm, “It is an Origami bookshelf, Momma. I made the books and wrote tiny messages inside of them.”

Later my husband revealed that the idea was hers and since early September, barricaded in her room, she folded and creased so many sheets of Origami to make the perfect bookshelf. Each little book has sweet messages like “You are the best mom,” “I love you very much,” and “Roses are red, Violets are blue, and I love you.” The letters are in her handwriting, squashed together but still legible.

Holding this handmade bookshelf and flipping through the pages of these tiny books, I felt sandwiched in-between so many emotions. She chose a gift that was so me.  This required a thoughtfulness that I know I did not possess at her age. Her sensitivity often sits at the edge of her eyes. It is often the highlight and low light of her existence. So many times I’ve viewed her puddle of tears as a drawback, but I also know this free-flow of emotions pushes her to be hyper-aware of the feelings of those that she loves. She’s paying attention to what moves me. This thought offered a particular comfort because I realized that my daughter recognizes something beyond my role as a mother. Her vision of me also includes my role as a writer and reader and how much words add sparkle to my day-to-day life.

This tiny little bookshelf sits near me. Every time I gaze in that direction I see so much of her heart. And mine too.