On Monday afternoon, the countdown began. In less than seven days, our one and only little girl starts Kindergarten. There is an ambivalence injected into this beginning, knowing that she will enter into a world of reading words, adding and subtracting, and interactions that see-saw between happy and hurt. I’ve secretly wished for this week to move slow, so that I can take a snapshot of all those moments that will lead to her latest milestone.
We spent part of the day painting pictures. Covered with old towels, the kitchen floor became fertile ground for painting masterpieces. I squeezed the various paints onto a paper plate that doubled as an easel. My daughter brought sheets of colored paper and brushes and we both sat Indian style as we started to paint. As the brush moved on the surface of the paper, I sensed an ease inside. It took me by surprise because I am not accustomed to this kind of stillness. We sat under a canopy of quiet while our paintbrushes conversed. Eager to please, after every painting, my daughter would ask, “Do you like this painting Momma?” Of course, not one to squash a budding artistic spirit, I responded, “Of course. It is beautiful.” After forty-five minutes and eight paintings later, my daughter decided it was time to end our endeavor.
She gathered all our paintings and spread them out, surveying what we had accomplished. Declaring each piece a masterpiece, she laughed and said, “This is was so much fun.” I nodded my head, agreeing with her statement. I showed up, I thought to myself, not distracted by my computer or i-phone or to-do lists. It is about sharing space, laughing, hugging, playing and painting. These are brush strokes that define a wholly ordinary life, but I suspect these are the moments that I will recall.
Someday I will look at those paintings, maybe five years from now, and feel the texture of her beginning and the stillness of my own spirit.
Have you felt a stillness when interacting with your children? How do you handle milestones in your child’s life? Are you ambivalent about them?
What a gallery of memories your playdate has provided!
Yes. I can’t wait to hang up some of the pictures around the house.
This is sweet, Rudri. Daniel and I paint once in awhile in the kitchen and I always feel peace at that moment. I just love the time we spend without any distractions. Later I like to put up his pictures on the wall of my office or the refrigerator door. He smiles happily, that I appreciate his art. I hope your spirit is peaceful always.
I am looking forward to decorating the walls of our house with this memory. It will always remind me of the peace I felt while I painted with her.
What a beautiful picture you painted with your words! I don’t think an afternoon can get any better!
I agree. Paint, peace and lots of love.
We’re in the same boat with Miss M. She starts a little later, but it’s such bittersweet agony, these last days.
Agony is a good way to describe it. Part of me wants to let go, while my heart is breaking a little inside. But she is looking forward to Kindergarten and I don’t want my feelings to color that experience for her.
Oh Rudri. I adore so much about this post–your words , your stillness and your awareness. If I quoted my favorite sentences, I’d copy and paste your entire post. Just lovely. Thank you, friend.
Oh Denise. Your compliment means so much. I am so glad that you loved every morsel of my post. Thank You.
This is delightful.
The F word we ought to use more often – Fun.
As for those milestones – I’m usually too tired to fully appreciate them! And occasionally that’s just as well – they’re often bittersweet.
Fun is mandatory when hanging around a five year old. And I am glad. Because perhaps it is the quickest way to stillness.
I find myself having to schedule this type of time in with both my children. They appreciate having 100% of me all to themselves, and I enjoy getting to know them over and over again — especially during these days when they change so much.
A painting playdate will be in our future (and it will have to be one with towels and floors and old clothes so I can avoid any anxiety over the mess).
Great perspective Kelly. It is like getting to know them over again and I am amazed about how much we learn about one another. It is certainly refreshing given busy days, deadlines, and constraints on time. Hope you get to do that playdate soon with Bella and Javi.
I see you have a flower-painter, too. We are all about flowers … and rainbows … and snakes. But the flowers are kind of symbolic of all the blooming she’s going to do in school, isn’t it?
My daughter loves rainbows too. And I love your analogy of blooming in school. I certainly hope that is what happens.
I, like you, am always surprised at how much I enjoy the stillness when we do things like that together.
That stillness is always an unexpected pleasant surprise.
“I showed up” Yes. I get that, because it’s how I feel after the most perfect moments with my own children. It’s a wonder they are only pockets in time, and why we can ‘t breathe them into a more regular way of being with them, isn’t it? I’d like to think it allows us to really appreciate when we do more.
Showing up always provides me with some much needed wisdom.