What would you do if you had a tiny window of time between school and kids’ activities, a superbly messy house and a bunch of paint? Would you have your kids each paint a big canvas? Me too! What an insane coincidence.
I had the idea the other day to buy some big, white canvases to perk up our living room. The room, for six years, has had a lovely piece of original, framed art and an army of silver-framed kids pictures guarding the mantel. Nice. Appropriate. Symmetrical. Blah.
I devised a solution that would add pizzazz and involve the majority occupants of the casa. We would do a family painting project.
I covered the table with newspapers, set out paint trays and brushes and brought in the artists.
Confessions of a Not-So-Able-To-Let-Go-of-Control-Mom:
I picked out colors of paint beforehand that coordinate with the living room so that the paintings match! Ha ha ha ha ha!
Okay, back from Controlling-Land.
I squeezed out the paint into the trays. I passed out the brushes. I said, “Wait!”
See, we had a theme.
More controlling? Perhaps. But hold your judgment because it was a good theme.
“I want you to think of what family means to each of you and then I want you to paint it.”
Whoa…they just stared at me.
“Can we use words? I mean, can we use the word family?” The youngest needs rules.
“I think you could use the word family," I said. "But really this is about what you think family means.”
The oldest said, “When I think of family, I think of love and when I think of love, I think of peace.”
***At this point, and I kid you not, the other two started singing Kumbaya. I swear, you can ask them. My kids are scary sometimes.***
I told them that I thought it was very sweet that they were saying such nice things about family because, wow, sometimes it is not loving or peaceful around this place!
The oldest continued on, “Well, when you think of family you think of supporting each other and loving each other and cheering each other on. You keep each other hopeful.”
I literally almost started simultaneously crying and feeling foreheads for fevers. Never fear, the kids quickly fell back into old habits.
“Ummmm, the theme is family, not weird looking hearts.”
“Ha, ha, I drew you with no neck!”
“Those are NOT complementary colors.”
Oh, there are my kids!
They continued to paint and chat and paint some more. The youngest was adorable as she said, “I have no pacific brush for blue, is it okay if I use any brush?” hee, hee, hee!
Hearts and smiley-faces and words quickly filled up the white space.
When they were done, I was more than proud to place the canvases on the mantel. There was a brief, stressful moment when I realized I had not measured the mantel to see if the canvases fit. The middle child chimed in sweetly, “Bravo! Bravo, Mommy!” and the youngest followed up with, “Yeah, Mommy, great way to start the craft-not measuring.”
To be fair, they were agreeing with each other about something and we must give thanks for small victories! Now, let’s get back to the moments of special bonding and love earlier. Remember those? Great. We’ll start again.
I put the canvases on the mantel and stood back to admire them. Then I added back a few baby pics to mix it up.