What I could not form into words I felt for certain in my spirit. I’d done wrong by him. There was something reflected in my eyes communicating disapproval.
“Mom, how do you like my mountains?”
Somewhere in the four steps displayed in our watercolor book he had wavered. The details were ever so slightly skewed, a distorted perspective of the mountain range we glimpse at the edge of town each day. I smiled stiffly, nodded my head, and turned back to my own paper. Careful hatch crossing — a technique we’d practiced earlier in the week — granted definition to summits and slopes.
Behind us the clock went about its business ticking away at our day, but something in me sunk — a moment weighed down to make its mark on time. These weights punctuate our timeline, pinning words, tones, looks — good or bad — where they cannot be moved. Cannot be taken back. Cannot be changed.
“Where did you put your mountains?” I shuffled through our school papers from the day, sorting and stacking art and addition. Later I’d finish my sifting — abandoned projects to be thrown away, favorites to be pinned on our art cord stretching across the kitchen entryway, or tucked into a box in the garage for safekeeping.
“I threw it away.” He looked at me, a slight glisten in his eyes.
That morning my own eyes had spoken louder than I knew. “Not good enough.” is what he heard. Watching him now, my mind raced for a way to rewind. Could I budge that weight that now pinned my unspoken judgement to his childhood? There are so many words, tones, and reactions that we as parents wish we could snatch back, throw them under our foot and stomp them out before they fuel a flame of hurt. We wish we could erase them, say it differently, or perhaps speak a word we should have, but left unsaid.
Two days later I say nothing — only pull the supplies from the drawer, set them on the table, and pull a chair up next to him. “Can I help?” I ask him, picking up a watercolor pen. He smiles up at me. “Like this,” I begin, pressing pen to paper. Patiently he follows along, watching the pressure and direction of my strokes. As we work together, history looking back does not change, but history moving forward does. Hanging our mountain piece in the kitchen, a new message is pinned to his childhood, and my motherhood.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
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