Pink in Jozi
‘Something pink’. That was her answer when I asked her what she wanted to do for Valentine’s Day. Something pink?!
It was an odd request. Pink is not a place or an activity. How can you do a colour?! I could have just ignored it and taken her for brunch to celebrate. But I wanted to do what she had asked to do. I asked her more detailed questions about what exactly she wanted that was pink, and all I got was ‘pink please’. So I researched, I googled, I asked friends for ideas. What was pink in Johannesburg that I could do with my Valentine?
So we woke up early on Valentine’s Day, our usual Saturday routine. I gave Bella her Valentine’s present, which was her ballet bag embroidered with ‘Bella-rina’ on the front and a collection of pink sweets. We had some breakfast and dressed in as much pink as we could find, and then set off on a treasure hunt, a game of ‘I Spy Pink’ in Jozi.
I had some ideas, so had a general clue of where we were going to go. But along the way, whenever she spotted pink, we stopped and took a photo with it. We headed to Blairgowrie, Craighall Park, Parkhurst, Greenside and Bryanston. We stopped on the side of the road and had photos with a brightly coloured wall that I’d never noticed before. We walked down 4th avenue and spotted pink in almost every shop. We stopped people (and even dogs) wearing pink and told them what we were doing, and they happily humoured by pink-obsessed daughter with lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’. We were given pink juice, cupcakes and sweets along the way by restaurant owners who loved our game. We noticed signs and tiles and fences and doors that were pink. We noticed women wearing pink lipstick or cars with pink bumper stickers. We saw pink in art and pink in food. We discovered that when you focus on something, you will find it everywhere. And we finally finished the Valentine’s treasure hunt with ice-cream for lunch. Pink ice-cream, of course.
What started as a random and obscure request from a toddler turned into the best experience, with a little life lesson attached for this Mama. When we stop running around trying to make sure everything is going okay and dinner is cooked and the baby is bathed and work is done and the house is clean and and and, we might actually be able to see the world from their perspective. To my sweet girl, doing pink was a completely legitimate activity because she sees it in everything she does and everywhere she goes. She takes the time to notice it because it matters to her. Taking a moment to look at the world through her eyes opened my own eyes to the beauty in the mundane, the wonder in the ordinary.
I got Bella’s name from a book called Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels. This past weekend my daughter taught me a valuable lesson, which incidentally reminded me of another quote by Michaels: “Important lessons: look carefully; record what you see. Find a way to make beauty necessary; find a way to make necessity beautiful”.
Thank you baby girl!