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Time to Paint

Two minutes to cover the table in newspaper.  1 minute to get paints, brushes, and paper out of the art drawer.  30 seconds to get old oversized t-shirts on my daughter and myself.  Altogether less than 5 minutes to make my daughter’s wish for a fun afternoon come true.  So why was this the first time I had pulled the paints out in years??!

When my son was little, I did the whole painting thing – like most first time Moms do – only outside of course.  But somewhere along the way, we went through a hectic phase (maybe due to their ages – I don’t remember) and also moved where to it wasn’t so weather-perfect all the time, and that’s when I must have decided painting could be an AT school activity.

My son’s preschool art portfolio is FILLED with wonderful paintings that he did at preschool.  Big, lovely, abstract works that fill the whole sheet of paper.  My daughter’s portfolio is practically empty.  She went to preschools that didn’t paint.  I guess they shared the same view I did – that painting was messy and hectic.  (Although, isn’t that what preschool is all about??  Being messy and hectic and free flowing?  Apparently not up here where we live now.)

It took a recent camping trip with some good friends of ours to show me that painting and craft projects are really not that big of a deal to orchestrate, and what’s more, they can be lots of fun!  (Many thanks, dear friend – for helping me see the light!)

So yesterday, while my son got to go to AT&T Park and watch a baseball game, my daughter (who wanted to have a special afternoon too) got to paint.  It was her idea – and I dutifully went along, forcing myself to be a good sport, but expecting it to be a whole thing.  She even went off to play while I worked on setting it all up.  I’m not sure who was more surprised when I called her 5 minutes later to say, “Come on down – we’re ready to go!”

How many times do we put things off, expecting them to be this whole big thing, when that just isn’t the case?  The phone call we keep avoiding, the errand we keep delaying, the thank-you note we keep not sitting down and writing – because we build them up to be much bigger (or more time consuming) than they really are.

As I tucked my Little One into bed last night, I asked her what the best part of her day had been.  I expected her to say being able to paint (finally!)  –  although we had ended our day with me painting her toenails Wild Wild West Berry Pink (another treat that doesn’t happen too often).  Maybe she’d go with what was fresh in her mind.

“Mama, the best part of my day was spending it with you,” she said.

Later, as this Zen Mama Wannabe walked around the dining room table, admiring all the beautiful works of art that had been painted that day, I couldn’t help but wonder why it had taken me that long to figure it all out.  A measly 5 minutes to set up the paints.  And it was never about the paints anyway.

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3 Responses to “Time to Paint”

  1. G.Danna Says:
    July 31st, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Loved this day & thought, spending time makes all the difference!

  2. callienadbatido Says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 4:05 am

    How true! I have been dreading and avoiding several things this summer and when push came to shove and I had to do them, I was shocked that they were not nearly as hard as I had been anticipating this whole time. Always such a great reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment.

  3. The "husband" Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    A beautiful vignette worth saving.

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