Learning to be crafty

I learned early on after meeting my husband way back in high school that he liked to draw.  He’s an artistic guy.  He has a great eye for color and can make drawings come to life.  Art isn’t his occupation.  These days it’s not even much of an avocation, but it is something he enjoys and it good at.  I’m almost 100 percent opposite.  My stick people need help.  I don’t enjoy drawing.  Coloring in a coloring book isn’t so bad, but that’s about as creative as I get.

I never thought much about this difference in us.  I just appreciated my husband’s artistic ability.  And then we had children, specifically our oldest child who is nearly 4-1/2.  She has inherited her father’s artistic ability and love.  Nothing makes her happier than sitting with pieces of paper and cutting and gluing and drawing.  Her artwork isn’t incredibly stellar.  It’s OK.  But, she loves crafts.  She loves crafty things and has for quite some time.  I’ve continued to be at a loss in this department.  I like to follow the rules.  I don’t like to just sit and try to draw random things.  I don’t get all that creative with Play-Doh, though I do make a good snake and an awesome pinch pot (remember those from elementary school art class?).  I once bought a craft kit for us at Walmart.  It was a good purchase.  I have tried a few ideas from Pinterest for her.

I want to help her and engage her in things she loves, but I feel so inadequate in this area.  However, the more I do, the more I’ve been realizing that she couldn’t care less if I’m not great at crafts.  She just enjoys the time with me and the effort I’m making.  One of these days that will change.  One of these days her skills in this area will surpass mine.  Hopefully I’ll have taught her enough grace for her to gently help her mama improve things.  But, for now, she just enjoys what I do.

I feel like this is a lesson I should have learned a long time ago in my motherhood journey, but in fact I just learned it a couple of weeks ago when we were making shamrocks for our bedroom doors.  For Valentine’s Day, we started on February 1 with hanging hearts on her bedroom door at night upon which we wrote what we loved about her.  She got a new heart each day through Valentine’s Day.  She loved it.  We left the hearts up through the end of February.  She hung some hearts on our  bedroom door as well.  I knew that in order to have her be OK about taking the hearts down then I’d need to come up with something to replace them.  Thus the shamrock idea for St. Patrick’s Day.  With a last name like Shannon, I feel obligated to commemorate the holiday.  Plus with a 4-year-old, celebrating any and all holidays is just plain fun.

I debated about how to do the shamrocks.  I thought about printing them out online and then coloring them in, but that seemed like a bunch of extra work and a lot of tracking down green crayons.  I decided to just cut them out of construction paper.  I drew an outline.  I started cutting.  I made three — one for my daughter, one for my son and one for my husband and me.  I wrote our names in marker.  Lexiana decorated them with her own drawings including many hearts and smiley faces.  She covered them with some glitter glue.  Then she declared them finished and admired her work.

My daughter's door covered with her St. Patrick's Day crafts.

Here’s the thing: they are far from perfect.  The three shamrocks are each different.  They aren’t identical.  Their shapes could probably use some work.  They could use some consistency.  But, my daughter didn’t see that. She was thrilled with them and excited to decorate them and hang them on our bedroom doors.  I did a craft on my own without reading about the idea.  I did it freehanded without printing anything or tracing anything.  It wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t stellar, but it sure made my little one happy and that’s the whole reason I do crafts these days.  I even added in a rainbow for her to color in then helped her glue it to a blue sky piece of paper and glue on cotton balls for clouds.

I long ago learned that letting my daughter help me with or do projects wouldn’t have them turn out exactly how I would do them.  I learned that she randomly places things sometimes where I think them out and want to space them carefully.  I learned how incredibly beautiful some projects that seem to come from chaos can be.  I have appreciated her skills and abilities at each stage of her development thus far.  I have cut her slack as she’s learning and growing.  I just never thought to cut my own self slack as I’m learning and growing, too.  I’m figuring out this craft thing for her. It’s not inherent to me as it is to some people.  It’s not a favorite past-time to me.  It probably never well be, and that’s OK, too.  I am learning, though, that perfection isn’t what crafts are about around here right now.  They’re about spending time together, creating something and just plain having fun.  I can cut myself some slack.  For now, I still have more craft skills than my 4-year-old.  Well, mostly.  And she still thinks everything I do is awesome.  I’m going to learn to bask in that while I figure out our next craft.  I’m thinking Easter eggs with our names on them for our bedroom doors.  Egg-scuse me while I go track down some paper to get started!

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