Arts and crafts were a daily thing when my boys were little.
But no longer.
Legos usurped crayons, paint and paper.
Then gaming crept in and crowded out free play.
Sports and school work became a priority.
And one day,
I realized I was the last one standing with paintbrush in hand.
I miss making art with my boys.
I think it’s a crying shame they’ve stepped away from drawing, painting and making.
Maybe it’s just because I’m their mom…
But darn it!
It’s NOT just because I’m their mom.
Those boys have an eye and a knack for the artsy stuff.
I wanted to lure them back.
A half dozen cans of Montana Gold spray paint and assorted sized canvases.
Did it work?
Did it ever!
Let me show you.
I pitched the idea of trying some graffiti art to my 15 year old.
Since he’d finished his homework and wasn’t rushing off to play basketball,
he actually agreed to come out & play with me!
We set up shop in our backyard and started experimenting with the paints.
It was a little messy.
A little smelly.
And a whole lot of fun.
We were immediately engrossed in the process.
As soon as he noticed something interesting was going on in the backyard,
my 12 year old ran out to join us.
My only words of caution to the boys?
“Just don’t get it in your eyes.”
There is something so satisfying out of watching your kid create something.
How mom-ish of me to get all choked up over this afternoon of together time?
Well I am a mom.
And I was completely, overwhelmingly, delightedly happy in this moment.
I sure do love my boys.
You know what the cherry on top of all this was?
We ended up in the backyard again the very next afternoon.
E spray painted a ghostly mickey.
Si reworked his original painting.
Then proudly hung it up in his room.
We’re considering collaborating on one more big piece to hang in our hallway.
How cool is that?
Artist milestone: My first solo exhibit.
by Val Chan.
(I’m still giddy over the thought.)
On display now in the art gallery at Church at Charlotte South Park through Easter.
Then moving to the art gallery at the church’s Matthews campus.
How lucky am I that my church asked me to share my work in their space.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude.
I embraced the opportunity.
Busted my behind to create enough art to fill out the space.
Then invited my community and friends to come take a look.
The art reception happened yesterday.
I worried obsessively that I would run out of food and drinks for everyone.
When I wasn’t fussing over the possibility of running out of food,
I worried about no one showing up and then being stuck with all the snacks I’d ordered.
(Yes, I am a total dork)
The fantastic, amazing reality?
LOTS of folks showed up.
And there were plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone.
What a lovely afternoon.
My heart near bursted with joy that so many friends celebrated this milestone with me.
Sometimes it really is the unplanned small pleasures that make all the difference.
Wouldn’t you agree?
What brings a warm smile to your heart?
A friend dropping by to visit?
The smell of fresh baked brownies?
That dress you wanted suddenly marked an extra 50% off?
My happy moment yesterday came in the form of
Sunshine and some greenery.
Our first winter in the Carolinas.
Lots of heavy dark clouds and violent rainstorms.
The locals tell me this winter is especially dreary and wet.
I hope they’re right.
Because the grey days here are awfully gloomy.
We finally got a bit of sunshine yesterday,
My afternoon errands included stopping at the local nursery.
I intended to buy a bird feeder and then boogie onto other tasks.
But I couldn’t resist perusing the plants.
What a delight to wander up and down the aisles.
Sipping an herbal lemonade.
Bright sunshine warming my face.
Besides the bird feeder,
I ended up going home with:
Four Tuscan Blue Rosemary bushes
Three Grassy-Leaved Sweet Flag
Three cheery yellow English Primroses
Two small Flowering Kale
One foot tall Lemon Cypress.
(I feel like I should be singing “and a partridge in a pear tree!”)
Ignored the rest of my chores.
Spent the afternoon with shovel in hand and the sun on my back.
Humming a stupid little tune to myself.
Soaking up the sunlight.
Dreaming big dreams for the garden.
But still celebrating each little plant.
Just some sunshine and greenery.
My happy place.
Chilly winter evening.
Sitting by the fire.
A game of Scrabble.
My honey and me.
The game gets tense when our competitive natures kick in.
He claims his placement of words are
“For the sake of the game.”
I laugh at him as I block his move, throw down a triple word play and say
“It’s for the sake of the points.”
Our boys wander in and out of the game.
Sometimes teaming up with me.
Other times, with him.
In the end,
It always comes down to this:
Who can get away with the most ridiculous words?
And the game ain’t over til someone spells “qat.”
This is winter evening contentment.
I traipse past him on my way home from walking my littler boy to school.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see his head twitch in my direction.
I don’t look at him.
He doesn’t look at me.
I greet a few of the other kids at the bus stop.
But I keep on walking past the group of gangly middle school kids.
About a block away,
I slow my steps and pull out my phone to text him.
R U relieved I didn’t scream “BYE SIMON” as I walked past you????
Love u kiddo. Have a good day!
(line of emoji happy faces with winky eyes below that)
I hear the school bus stop at the corner.
All the kids have their backs to me now and are boarding the bus.
It’s safe for me to turn around to watch my boy get on.
Wish I could have just given him a hug back at the bus stop.
But nowadays, this is how we roll.
I’m cracking up and rolling my eyes.
We’ve visited our favorite museums.
Spent a day at the Bronx Zoo.
Indulged ourselves at a myriad of restaurants.
Walked along the Hudson River at sunset.
Made our farewells to as many of our friends as we could fit onto the calender.
And it’s suddenly our last New York day.
Our apartment is swarming with packers and movers.
I’m feeling a little dazed as I watch our “lives” wrapped in paper
and taped away in cardboard boxes.
One heart wrenching moment:
My littler boy returned home from school yesterday to find his beloved toys packed away.
His eyes widened in shock as he read labeled box after box.
“Big Bear,” he gasped out.
“Big Bear stuck in a little box.”
“And Panda… Panda is over there.”
He lowered his head and said in the saddest, tear-filled voice,
“My Legos. My Legos are having the most miserable experience.”
I pulled him onto my lap for a hug.
Sat in silence while perusing the mountains of boxes.
So much to look forward to on the other side.
But we still need this moment to say good-bye.