I dragged myself out of bed this morning. I promised Marc I’d take Isabelle out so he could complete a work-related project. But I was sick. Not pneumonia sick, but flu-like body ache sick. Sore throat sick. Massive headache sick. I knew I could back out, but I didn’t have to heart to do so.
Halfway through our day out together, Isabelle and I found ourselves painting pottery. Isabelle insisted on painting a mug for Grandma. She picked three colors and began painting. Eventually she dipped her green brush into my white paint. I implored her to rinse her brushes, going-forward, before dipping her brush into my paint.
30 minutes and eight colors after she began painting Grandma’s mug, she was swirling color upon color, layering the glaze so thick. I noticed some non-glazed spots.
“You should paint those,” I said pointing at them.
“I don’t want to,” she replied.
“But the handle needs some paint on it.”
She looked at me, annoyed, “Don’t tell me what to do.”
“You’re right. It’s your project for Grandma, not mine. I’m going to mind my own business and get back to painting my bowl for Bubbe.”
“Good,” Isabelle said.
I learned something from this interaction. And maybe I wouldn’t have if I was feeling better. Perhaps I would’ve pressed her to paint those empty spots (or would’ve done it myself) if I didn’t feel so sick. Instead, I stopped bossing my child around and let her continue her art project. It may have 11 layers of glaze and some non-painted spots, but it is her project. She’s proud of it. And she should be. (The only thing I helped with was writing “For Grandma. Love, Isabelle. 2015” on the bottom of the mug.) When she gives that messily-painted mug to my mother-in-law it’ll be her own creation, which I know will make her proud.
Lesson learned. Sometimes I have to butt out!