I knew it was a mistake to tell you that my 2016 focus word was "patience." I knew I shouldn't have told you that I was going to try to yell less and smile more, that I would be more easy-going and less panicky. And I definitely should have hidden that big art box from GG in my closet with a padlock and come up with some excuse why you didn't have it. I'm an author, I could have come up with several. Some of them may have even been believable.
But I did tell you I was focusing on patience. I did say I would yell less and smile more. And I still wrapped that big art box up and put it under the tree for you. And then today happened. I came to check on you after washing some dishes and remind you to finish your chores. I didn't find you cleaning up. Instead I found this.
Now I could have yelled, and believe me I wanted to. I wanted to really, really badly. I could have frowned at you and told you how bad your choices were. I could have. Part of me wanted to.
But that word patience came to mind and I smiled and grabbed the camera. Now before you go thinking this is okay, no it's not. You do know better and I know you know the rules. You're very good at telling me what they are. But I didn't get mad at you because once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a mini-artist.
I colored on things I shouldn't have, just look under Grammy and PaPa's table sometime. I colored on walls and I colored on myself too. I was convinced if I colored my eyelids long enough I could change my eyes from green to blue. Never worked. So don't try that one, I can already tell you it is ineffective. I colored on toys, I colored on furniture and when Grammy got lucky, I actually colored on paper.
Someday you'll grow out of this stage, just like I did. Though hopefully you'll still color on paper. Creativity is a very good thing. And perhaps that's the other reason I didn't yell today. Creativity is good and it's important. I want you to develop your creativity, find your strengths and your passions. Just, can we leave the furniture and the floors out of it?
We've had a bath and you're all clean again. Well, reasonably clean again. The floor will be washed. And you will be the ones to do it. It's not hard, and I bet you'll think twice about coloring on it again. It's good to be creative, but it's also good to follow the rules.
I'm sure some reading this will think I've gone too easy on you. They probably think I've reinforced bad behavior by taking your pictures. I don't think so. I think you know what you did wrong. I think you also know that Mommy loves you a lot. Even when you color on floors, walls, furniture and yourselves. It's important for you to know that. It's also important to be patient. Learn to laugh at yourself and when things get tough, learn to relax a little. That's why today I chose patience. That's why I didn't yell.
And, that's why I hope someday you have little artists just like you.
P.S. Crayola, you might want to work on that "Ultra-washable" formula. Just sayin'.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius