Nels built this tree house (with some help from the girls) before we built our own house. Since then, to his disappointment, it has stood empty in the woods.
Yesterday inspired by the new Kit movie, Lou decided to make her doll a tree house and then remembered that we actually had a real tree house.
The next thing I knew, she and her friend were calling me to bring a broom and could I please remove a broken window from the floor? They were full of ideas of how to make it their own.
Lou remembered that my mother had given us a big bolt of fabric for play. "Could we please use it?" she asked. We took it up, along with some nails and hammers. The fabric was so thin we were able to just rip it to the size of the windows and nail it up.
See the bird nest? Doesn't every tree house need a real bird nest? There weren't any eggs in it, but it was pretty fresh--filled with beautiful moss.
I heard hammering coming from the woods all afternoon. The walls are now plastered with pages ripped out of magazines such as Body & Soul and Martha Stewart. I'm sure Nels never imagined his tree house would look this pretty :)
Lou is already up this morning thinking about ropes, pulleys, and all sort of things. Lou and her friend have made the tree house their own. They have imbued it with their own selves, their own creativity.
Every kid needs his or her own little spot of privacy, a sanctuary to hide away and be secret. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of hiding in various forts we made all over the neighborhood. They are a big part of my childhood place--the place that still provides me with roots.
Our tree house stood empty in the woods because it wasn't really the children's. Now Lou and her friend are filling it with their most special stuff, the things they prize and feel are essential. They are learning more about themselves, creating powerful memories of place, and having a blast doing it.