But as I stood before that dirty, stain-covered wall, I froze. I could...

But as I stood before that dirty, stain-covered wall, I froze. I could hear the paint drops falling off the roller as my eyes suddenly welled up with tears.

I could remember it like it was yesterday, but really it had been two years before. Katie was three and so very busy. She was supposed to be in her room taking a nap, when she suddenly came running down the hallway, markers in hand, yelling, "Mommy! Come look at the beautiful picture I drew for you!"

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I was busy doing, well, probably whatever I could do while she was asleep. But I remember thinking, "Where did she get markers? Does she have paper in her room?"

She stood before me, grinning from ear to ear. "Come on, mommy," she said, grabbing my hand. "Come see what I did."

A knot filled my stomach as she pulled me to her bedroom. I was tired. And I had a feeling I wasn't going to like what she was about to show me. Sure enough, right there on the wall above her bed, was her beautiful artwork- in permanent marker.

I sat down on her bed and hung my head. I took some deep breaths, trying to remain calm. I had already spent the morning fixing a library book with torn pages and cleaning up spilled orange juice on the floor.

She climbed up on the bed and bounced over to the drawing. "See, mommy," she said proudly, "Its a picture of me and Mr. Sun!"

I sat there, trying to decide what to do. Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. "Don't you like it, mommy?" She said. "I did it for you."

She was so sincere, and so innocent that my frustration had quickly vanished. "I do like it," I said, pulling her in my arms. "Its just that I've told you not to write on the walls, and you keep forgetting."

"I'm sorry," she said quietly. "But this one was special, and I wanted it to be here forever."

So that afternoon, the two of us went to the dollar store and picked out a frame. We put it around her picture, and it remained there for almost exactly 2 years.

Until today- at this very moment. I felt my arm beginning to shake, and then I heard Dave's voice coming from down the hall. "You know you can paint around it," he said. The man knows me to my very core.

I was torn. I knew that a fresh start was good. But I just couldn't do it. I skipped that wall and painted another one. I was trying to buy time. Soon I had no other walls left. I sat down, paint can beside me, just staring at it. That's when I felt her hand on my shoulder. "What are you doing, mom?" She giggled. "You've been staring at the wall for 10 minutes!"

"I'm sad to paint over your picture," I said.

She smiled, "Do you want me to do it?" She asked. "I love to paint!"

"Won't you be sad when your picture is gone?" I asked her.

"Mommy, I'm almost five now, I don't draw on walls anymore," she said seriously. "I can draw you a better one on a real piece of paper."

"That's kinda why I'm sad," I told her, "You're growing up so fast, and I'm having a hard time with it."

"Mom, we've looked at this picture for a long time," she said as she grabbed the roller, "Its time for something new!" And before I could stop her, she rolled the paint right over the drawing of her and Mr. Sun. She looked back at me with a huge grin and absolutely no regrets.

She was right- and I knew it. Its good to cherish the past. But it's also good to embrace the now. To keep the wonderful memories, but whole-heartedly leap towards whatever life has in store. If this past summer has taught me anything, it's that life is so very precious. Not just every day, but every single hour, minute, second. We don't know what will happen tomorrow. We have this day- we have right now.

We might be mad when our kids draw on the wall. But all too soon, they will be too grown-up to do things like that. We might sigh in frustration when they ask us for the millionth time to tie their shoes. But soon they won't need us for that anymore. And we might cringe when they crawl on our laps, because we haven't had personal space ALL DAY LONG. But so very soon, they won't even fit on there.

Take a deep breath. Enjoy the messy walls and sticky hands as much as you can. Be present in THIS moment. Cherish the past. But also, don't be afraid of letting some things go. Just like Katie told me, sometimes it's just time for something new.

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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 12/28/2018


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