I got a wild idea Saturday to paint with The Conqueror and The Hun. The idea was made even wilder by the fact that we were also trying to do the 48 hour potty training method where you let them run around without pants all day. If you’re already cleaning up pee on the floor all day then what’s a little paint, right? My floor and my heart still bear the marks from our results. While a good scrub will take the paint off the floor, the effect that painting with my daughters had on me is one that will stick.
I am always and forever a lover of art and paint is my favorite medium. The messier the art is, the more likely I am to enjoy it. I don’t feel like I’ve finished a painting until my skin looks like I’ve stepped into the world of the canvas and taken a little tour. That being said, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve painted in the last three years. Even so, bought a pack of twelve square canvases on sale the other day. I thought maybe I’d make Christmas gifts. Inspiration struck after I had a moment’s peace and quiet while the girls napped on Saturday. I binge watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and relaxed. It left me feeling adventurous and ready to try something fun and new.
The Twins watched me with curiosity as I put a flattened cardboard box on the floor and declared that they were going to paint. As soon as I opened my box of paints they started grabbing at tubes and shouting out colors with squeals of excitement. I laughed and laid everything out for them to see. They mixed everything up and got paint everywhere. Ever since I was a toddler I have insisted that colors and art supplies (specifically anything like paint or crayons) be in perfect rainbow order. My mother loves to tell the story of me crying and dumping out my box of crayons over and over until she realized that when I screamed “not right Momma!” I meant the order the colors were in. Hi, my name is Diana and I am a lifetime rainbow addict. Past Diana would have flipped the hell out about people touching her paints and putting them all out of order. Instead, I laughed and asked which color they wanted first.
“BLUE!” They both shouted, an excellent choice to be sure. They weren’t sure what to do as they saw the bright blue paint squeeze out of the tube. I put their fingers in it and prayed that they wouldn’t immediately try to eat it. They didn’t, but they definitely tried later. Soon enough they were squealing and giggling and screaming for color after color while I laughed and kept the supplies coming. By the time we finished they’d painted 8 canvases and were completely covered in paint. The Conqueror even had some in her hair from a minor tussle with The Hun during their last painting and a blue handprint smudge across her booty cheek from an apparent attempt to scratch it. It was sheer delight. I was in heaven.
I work incredibly hard to be super Mom and make sure that they have all the tools they need to be great humans. I stress the fuck out of myself on a regular basis. I miss out on so many moments because I’m being so damn uptight. I can honestly say that painting with my babies was one of the happiest moments of my life. I let them take the lead and in those minutes I was able to remember why I wanted to be a Mommy in the first place. It didn’t magically make me more patient or a better Mom but I fell more deeply in love with my children for who they are as individuals and not just who they are in relation to me. Painting was my greatest love before life got crazy. Watching them paint let me see my past, present, and future all come together.
After they went to bed I wrote a letter to God thanking him for the opportunity to share in the moment with my children. In it I wrote, “My soul feels radiant and my heart is at peace. I’m still cranky and tired but I saw true beauty today. They were giggling and exploring and creating without fear. I hope I can be like them when I’m scared.” How amazing it must be to tackle newness with excitement and hunger.
Mommas I encourage you to fight against that little voice that’s telling you to make sure your project is perfect and Pinterest worthy. Let go of the rules that you’ve laid down for yourself for just a short time and help your child to explore something that you love deeply. Don’t expect it to be an amazing journey. It may very well end in disaster but try it anyway. You never know what your children can teach you.