Back in December, I shared a little about our family traditions and how I’ve struggled to let go of my wedding-planner, Type A mentality.
For the past few years, we’ve let our four-year-old, Lillian, serve as our director of holiday decorating—she’s decorated our tree, picked out ridiculous snacks for Santa and dictated her holiday letter, which ended up making exactly zero sense. Hazel, our two-year-old, joined in the fun by constantly removing all of the (plastic) ornaments from the tree daily and rearranged them in anxiety-inducing clusters of madness.
Long story short, I’ve been letting two glitter-loving toddlers art direct my home.
YOU GUYS—I’M LETTING TWO GLITTER-LOVING TODDLERS ART DIRECT MY HOME.
Why am I embarking on this insane (and messy!) endeavor, you ask?
You see this beautiful, adorable Pinterest-inspired craft? Every time I look at it, I know it’s a lie.
Take a trip back in time with me and I’ll explain… Lilly had just turned two, so she was just old enough to do some of the crafts I’d been excitedly pinning since the moment I saw the second line on the pregnancy test.
I carefully applied painters tape to the canvas to spell out her name, cutting a cute little heart to dot the “i.” I got her set up in her high chair, handed her a paint brush, and waited with bated breath for her to unleash messy painting madness all over the canvas.
But you know what she did?
She looked at it, gently dipped the brush into the paint, dabbed three blobs across the canvas and declared, “all done!” That was it—three blobs! And they were all pretty much directly on top of the painters tape, so there was no way her name was going to show up when I removed the tape.
I stepped in and tried to encourage her—try again! Hold the brush like this! Do you want to try some more red?
But nope. “All done,” she insisted.
And that’s when it happened. I held her little hand in mine and “helped her” push the brush across the canvas, spreading her three blobs around.
Now every time I see that painting, I’m reminded of something—something I think is very important: as a parent, I need to stand back and let her reveal what SHE finds beautiful.
Kids don’t have Pinterest. They don’t know what the end results of these crafts are “supposed to” be. But what they see in their eyes, and create with their little hands, is something infinitely more beautiful. And most importantly, real.
So that’s the commitment I’ve made: to give my daughters space to express what they deem beautiful and surround themselves with what makes them feel happy. Sure, we still try new crafts from Pinterest and try to make things special. But when I sit back and listen—or take my well-meaning hands off of THEIR paint brush—the results make THEM smile… and isn’t that really the most important thing?