~these are the days of saving artwork~
I always know when Naomi has the scissors. Or the glue.
You know that moment when you suddenly realize you haven’t heard your child in a while? No mommy-this or mommy-that. No asking for anything or just wanting to be in your sight at all times. You can guarantee something is going on.
She can’t help herself, really. She sees her older siblings with glue and scissors so why shouldn’t she be afforded the same opportunity, right? I always find it so funny how kids think that you won’t catch them doing something they shouldn’t be doing. How when I walk into a room, she quickly leans over the table to hide what she’s doing. Or gives me that look I know meaning, “Hey, I’m innocent. Move along, mama.”
If I’m watching her, fine. I let her have a glue stick and old dull kids’ scissors and have-at the scrap box of paper. It really does keep her quite content for a while.
I don’t know about your home, but I’m sad to admit we could probably fill a small landfill with paper we’ve thrown away over the years. I’m sentimental about certain things my kids make but 328 pages with the same scribble pattern won’t make me cry when I look back in a few years. I’ll save one, but the rest get recycled. Or trashed.
A few times each year, we’ll pull out the piles of artwork the kids have created and I let them sort through and pull out the ones that mean the most to them and we save them in a big box. If there’s some I think they should hold onto, I’ll add them to the pile. But they usually don’t need help making the save pile bigger than it needs to be.
I’ve read that some people can’t bear to throw away anything their kids have made. Good grief. If I did that, I would need a large plastic storage tub for each kid. No thank you.
Writing? I can’t throw that away. Art? I can’t throw that away either. But I’m more inclined to. I’m really ok with just having a few samples that represent their growing years. I certainly want to save things my kids make to look back at, but there has to be a limit. As an adult, I don’t care that I don’t have stuff from when I was a kid, although my kids would get a kick out of seeing it. My mom saved some of my writing from when I was little and that’s more meaningful to me.
I want my kids to express themselves creatively through artistic means. I just don’t want to save them all, you know? Every. Single. Little. Piece.
So when I saw Naomi cutting and gluing (yes, without permission), we had a little chat about asking for art supplies but I let her finish. She was quiet for a nice amount of time, happily cutting and pasting and leaving the mess for me to clean up. As I was clearing the table, I grabbed her picture and was about to throw it in the trash, but I stopped myself. Literally. Paper poised over the opened lid of the trashcan.
I couldn’t do it. She loved the process of making it, that I just couldn’t trash it. She didn’t show it to me or tell me what she made. She just left it on the table. It was just cut-up paper. But as I was holding the paper over the trashcan, I saw what I want to instill in my kids. Freedom.
Freedom to break the rules once in a while. Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to color outside the lines. To cut up paper and make a mess. To be adventurous or creative or artistic in ways that I’m not. Freedom to live full lives without the fear of failure. Freedom to be proud of who they are and what they do. Freedom to know who they are as children of God. And freedom to live it out.
I grabbed some tape and hung her picture up on the dining room wall. And just left it there. Later that day, I saw her staring at it with a huge smile on her face. I wish I had grabbed my camera to capture her expression. She said, “Mommy, that’s my picture!”
It doesn’t take much to offer them freedom. Sometimes it’s just hanging a piece of artwork on the wall.
What do “these days” look like for you. Simply comment with one…these are the days of…
**If you want to check out the rest of my #write31days series, you can find the link here.