Sometimes the best talks I have with my daughter are in the car when I can press her a little harder about what happened at school. Instead of “oh nothing”, I get, “today at recess we talked about habitats of big cats and then played big cats which involves chasing a few of our friends.” And sometimes the best snuggles with my son are had in between putting on socks and shoes before we leave the house. I can breathe in his smell and give him a few extra squeezes that I hope will last him (and me) through the day.
Parents get their quality time in odd places: on the way to tae kwon do or dance rehearsal, and in between swim meets; or in routine activities like watching the sunset on the porch, brushing our teeth, and cuddling during bedtime stories. And while we try to make the most of it, time is a precious commodity - there never seems to be enough of it.
We feel pulled in every direction, we have a huge list of things to do, and the laundry is never completely done. A few too many days can go by and it gets harder to remember the last time baths were taken and rooms were tidied up. I feel lucky when I’ve managed to help them with homework, feed them, check in about their days, and get them bundled up for bed & tucked in until morning.
I wish I could push pause to savor this time with them while they still want to hold my hand (and not just while crossing the street). Without a pause button at the ready, however, I find myself trying to slow down and be more intentional with our time together. Whether it’s throwing rocks in a creek, baking muffins, or painting and doodling, we’ve found a few rituals that keep us grounded as a family, when I can slow down and notice how time moves around and over us.
I’ve always tried to encourage my kids’ creativity but I like to keep it simple - a couple of brushes, a cup of water, some watercolors, and paper. I love seeing how their decision making has changed over the years - how they place colors on the paper, their facility for the medium, and the pride they feel in the final product. The paintings we’ve made together become the records of this intentional time, as if they are markers on a growth chart, but instead of inches grown they track the time spent together.
I recently visited some of my friends and took some of our 1canoe2 watercolor sets and art prints with me. As they painted with their kiddos and I took photos, we talked about motherhood and some of the struggles and triumphs we experience every day. We talked about Mother’s Day and how they typically spend it: brunch, a bike ride, time together. Eventually, I faded into the background as they settled into being with each other. I got to witness the love and patience on all sides, as they worked together to create something special, a record of their experience.
And when the painting on traditional surfaces was over some of the kids experimented with painting on alternative things like hands and feet. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned while parenting it’s how to go with the flow.
If time means growing up, then let it happen, but be present, slow down, and try to keep a record of those meaningful experiences. And if you choose to make art, the 1canoe2 watercolor set is a great way to start.
:: Kelsey ::
In honor of Mother's Day, we'd love to hear about your unexpected moments and rituals that make time stand still. What are your most treasured traditions that you share with your kids? Or that you share with your own mother!
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