In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love. ~Marc Chagall
I remember when I just had my second baby, I was taking my older daughter (who was then 2) to mommy and me classes. I was kind of tired and a little out of it, and I remember a few moms telling me to go for the third. I remember feeling a little out of sorts, eye balls popping out of my head type of feeling. Like, isn’t this enough for now? But, they were like, “You’re young. You should go for it.” Mind you, I had a 10 week old at home. I asked another mom who had 3, if it was hard. She said, and I’ll never forget this, “Having kids is the easy part; it’s everything else that you have to do that’s hard.”
Now, three and a half years later, I never forgot that. I see it and feel it, especially now. We all have laundry to do, sidewalks to shovel, dishes to clean, errands to run, jobs to get to, and yes we would like to fit in a little “fun.” I write that in quotes because I feel like it needs to be in quotes. “Fun,” is a quotable expression when you have kids. Oh, you mean that “fun” that everyone speaks of. Let’s try and accomplish that at some point.
I thought of this wonderful woman, Maryellen who probably doesn’t even remember saying that to me. But, it resonated deep and powerful within my heart. “It’s everything else that is hard.” It is everything else that we have to do that makes child-rearing hard. Agreed.
Last week, I picked up the girls from school and decided that we didn’t need to go anywhere or do anything else. When we got home, I said to them, “I feel like coloring.” And I really did. I felt like lying on the floor with them and coloring. So we did. We got out all of our crayons and markers and colored big pictures with bright colors and dazzling hearts and stars. My 3 year old who rarely sits, sat the entire time while we colored a picture together and became confident and proud in the process. “LOOK AT MY DRAWING MOM,” she said. We got home at 3:45 and when I looked at the clock again, it was 4:45. After we colored, we got tape and hung the pictures up in their room. It made them so happy. And to be honest, it was my favorite hour of the entire week because it didn’t involve rushing, folding, washing, or schlepping. I decided to forget about the “hard” stuff and focus on something that would make these beautiful girls happy. They were happy and wonderful and so much fun to be with.
Do I think this world has gone a little nutty? Absolutely. Do I think there is an emphasis on the wrong thing these days with the introduction of social media and IPhones? Yes. When I see 10 year olds scrolling through phones, I get nervous for the growth of my own little children. Are we going to be able to teach them the right lessons? I think so. I’m comfortable with the fact that they are innocent right now and I don’t want that to change for as long as I can help it. It will always be within our power.
So, on that cold January day, coloring saved my thoughts and made me forget about everything else that needed to be done. Sometimes, something like that can save our children as well; it is something so basic and innocent and…easy. But it is something that will resonate with them.
Yet still, with all of the scary things ahead and this crazy world we live in, we have the ability to color their world in such an innocent and positive way.
And maybe in the process, we can color our own.
~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies