“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
— Phyllis Diller
Many years ago, when our kids were young, we had a noisy house. It seemed like there was noise from the moment we woke up until all three kids fell asleep. Silence wasn’t just golden. It was priceless.
So it should be no surprise that late one evening the house was loud. The kids were playing with a variety of sound-producing devices. (All things are noise-makers in the hands of young children.) My wife Melissa and I were busy trying to get a variety of chores done, probably cleaning or laundry.
No doubt, we were engrossed in these fascinating activities because we didn’t notice the atmosphere slowly grow still. Unusually still. You might think that being devoted parents, we would have recognized the change. But like all things gradual, it just sort of overcame us.
Eventually, Melissa took note of the change and, sensing danger, immediately started looking around for the kids. After a short search, she found our daughters. They were sitting on the kitchen floor. A tub of butter between them.
Where they got the butter we don’t know. Probably not the refrigerator as that would have been difficult to reach. Most likely we left it out after dinner.
It doesn’t really matter because it’s what our girls did with the butter that was interesting. Using their little minds, they had discovered that the true purpose of butter wasn’t to eat, but to paint. And the cupboards were the canvas.
It was one of those, “Oh my!” moments where you can laugh, cry or scream. Fortunately, Melissa came and got me. Together, we chose to laugh. And to laugh until we cried. And we laughed harder as the dog came over and tried to lick the cupboards.
The girls, well, they didn’t much care about our laughter. After all, this was their art. It was the most important thing in their lives at that moment. They did what any good artists would do.
They just kept on painting.
Today, thanks to Post Pals I wrote a letter to a child with a chronic illness. Of all the kids, I picked her because her birthday is coming soon and she’s about the age of our girls. Her mother had noted that she likes to read stories, so I related a short story about my daughters, Tessa and Hayle, when they were young. I thought you might like it also.