I never (well… I try to never) let a task or chore be more important than creating a memory with my kids. Obviously, there is a lot of grey area in that statement, but on this particular Saturday (1.26.19) I was packing, cleaning and folding a mountain of laundry that had been neglected for days (a couple weeks *clears throat* what!? 😝 ). I needed to pack the kitchen so I put Emmaline in her highchair and got Rylie situated with a snack. As I was pulling things off the counter to put in a box, Rylie saw her paint set. With a gasp and a smile, she asked, “paint!?”
I hesitated because my first instinct was to say, “not today Sweet Love.” But she was so excited, and I needed her attention directed off of my boxes that she loved to unpack and, as I said above, I really try to not let my to-do list get in the way of their childhood. So I said, “of course we can paint.”
I taped the roll of brown paper to the table, cut 3 holes in a garbage bag for her to stick her head and arms through, got her a cup of water and her paint set.
In the midst of packing and cleaning, I looked over multiple times at the table. Partially to see what she was painting and partially to make sure there wasn’t unwanted paint on the table, chairs or floor. Thankfully, I saw a puddle of mixed paint colors on her paper. Every time I passed the table I’d say, “oh Rylie, that’s beautiful! You’re such a good painter!” And without hesitation, she would reply, “Yeah!” with a big smile on her face.
It took me a few more trips past her and a couple more compliments of her art for me to realize that a lot of us stopped creating things when other people started telling us it wasn’t good. But young children don’t create for others to like it, they create because it makes them happy. 😄 Rylie wanted to paint. I didn’t ask her to, she wanted to. And she didn’t paint something she thought I would like, she painted what made her happy which at that moment was all the colors in one spot on the paper.
When was the last time you created something just for you to enjoy? Not to please someone else, but to create just because it makes you happy.
The ability to create is a beautiful gift that God has given all of us in some fashion. I hope you cultivate that gift. If you don’t know what you like to create, experiment. Do you enjoy photography? Painting? Writing? Knitting? Graphic design? Try different things. Try new things. Do more creating. And don’t do it for others, do it for yourself.
I have found that photography + blogging is a form of creating that I enjoy. Some say that photography is just capturing what is already there, which is true. Sometimes I like to create a space where I’ll take the photos (like a themed photoshoot) and other times I like to just follow my kiddos and take pictures of their world. Partnering those photos with writing in a blog fills my creativity cup even more. I’m working on experimenting with some other options (like hand-lettering, decorating and cooking), and I’m excited to see how they turn out.
There are a lot of people who turn their creativity into a business, and that is phenomenal (I used to be one of those people when I had my photography business), but don’t compare your creativity to theirs. It’s not supposed to be the same because you are unique. To create something that makes you happy. Because just like our little painting session that Saturday morning, I loved Rylie’s painting because she loved it and because it was an expression of her little 2-year-old heart and mind.