When Caleb was seven months old, I didn’t take him to the pumpkin patch to snap some Halloween pictures. At the time, I didn’t realize that I had violated some law for what mothers are supposed to do with their children, but I was informed of that fact after Halloween had come and gone without a cute pumpkin picture of my son. Nowhere in my house is there a separate section for arts and crafts supplies complete with a stash of those googly eyes and various buttons necessary to create animals and insects for any occasion. And my daughters will never have matching frilly hair bows with darling pillowcase dresses unless someone gives them such a present.
When it comes to creativity, arts and crafts, anticipating projects for the upcoming holiday season, or anything along those lines, I have failed. It’s not so much that I’m against projects; it’s simply that my mind would never even think to do some of the artsy projects other parents undertake. And I had started to get a little insecure about my inability to ‘create’ with my children.
The other day I was at the store when I noticed a huge display of plastic pumpkin pails intended for children to store their Halloween candy. I grabbed three remembering how I didn’t remember the last two years when the kids had to throw their candy from the Fall Festival in the bottom of our stroller. Suddenly, out of the blue, my mind had an ingenious idea–we’ll make our own bags! Okay, I’ll be honest; I didn’t get this idea in a quest for creativity. I simply didn’t want to spend money on three pails and then find a place to keep those bulky pumpkins after Halloween was over.
That afternoon, I set out two little grocery bags for Caleb and Hannah Grace, and I drew a pumpkin for each of them on a piece of orange construction paper. They were so excited and focused as they sat at the kitchen table ready to begin their project. The kids colored and cut and then glued their pumpkins on the bags, and as I watched and helped them work, I felt a little ashamed. Maybe if my mind worked this way, if I thought about crafts to do ahead of time, I could give them something better. I pushed away the thought as we put the finishing touches on the bags.
While I picked up scraps of paper from the floor, the kids admired their work until Caleb suddenly spoke:
“Thank you, Mommy,” he said.
On his own, without any encouragement from me, he offered his thanks. And I knew from the sound of his voice that he wasn’t merely thanking me for the bag–he was thanking me for thirty minutes we spent together creating–creating pumpkin bags and a memory that will last longer.
Caleb then made his way across the kitchen to where I was crouched on the floor and put his arms around me. “I love you,” he gently spoke, and my heart melted. Any insecurities I was feeling were immediately washed away.
Caleb didn’t care that our craft didn’t involve fabric and a hot glue gun–he doesn’t want any of those frills–he just wants me.
I had to write about this moment because I know how easily I will forget; I will forget that my children don’t need paper mache and glitter. They need something more precious–me, my attention–and they will take all they can get of it, even if my attention comes bearing paper grocery bags.
For what can you be thankful on this ‘Focus On It Friday’?