A few days ago, my five-year-old son discovered a piece of his artwork crumpled up at the bottom of my bathroom trashcan.
"Mom!" he cried, retrieving and smoothing out said artwork. "I made this for you."
My heart filled with remorse as I looked down at the bright green Post-it in his hand (which, suffice it to say, hadn't wound up in the garbage by accident). On one side, there were three parallel lines—each with a different shape drawn on its top end.
"These were your magic wands," he explained. Then he flipped the sticky note over to reveal a small square with the words "Cade loves Mom" written inside. He looked up at me (twisting that dagger a little further into my gut) and said nothing else.
Now, it should be noted that I am, without a doubt, his biggest cheerleader when it comes to artistic creations (no matter how big or small). In fact, it's very likely that I encourage art-related activity more so than any other... Hell, we even have an "art room" in our house—yes, an area dedicated solely to drawing, painting, crafting, sewing, coloring, imagining and creating.
Needless to say, my collection of saved child-art literally overflows from my file-cabinet drawers (not to mention off the refrigerator, closet doors, mirrors, etc.). From the very first painting Cade brought home from preschool—a perfect depiction of abstract expressionism with its colorful display of splattered dots and dripping lines—to the countless oil-on-cardstock masterpieces revealing his then-newfound love for rainbows, I'd say we have a gallery's worth.
And since the influx of arts and crafts has only continued to rise with Cade's growing school involvement, I reckon I've become more selective with the keepsakes and showcasings.
But now, I've officially been dubbed an evil mommy who doesn't give two shits about the powerful, magic wands bestowed upon her... Pay no mind to the cheery admiration and celebratory feedback that Evil Mommy radiates 99 percent of the time, because that lacking one percent is still enough to break a tiny heart.
Perhaps a bit of compromising is in order. And perhaps I'm not the only mother in need of an effective template for addressing similar situations of guilt...
Dear little one,
Believe me when I say that I love and admire your progressing creativity. I am the proudest mom in all the land, and I couldn't feel more special to receive your very first written love notes, stick-figure drawings and "watch how good I stay inside the lines" coloring-book pages.
That said, you will someday thank me for refusing to hoard every single work of art you've ever created. Because the ones that are categorically worthy—well, they already have (and will continue to have) a special place in eternity. I mean, do you really think I would ever discard a work of genius potentially worth millions upon your debut at the Louvre?
If you trust me (which you should; I'm your mother), you will learn to accept my exclusive selection of mementos as motivation to expand your beautiful-but-repetitious artistic style—all without taking offense when an unlucky creation happens to find itself buried under a used Kleenex. And as compromises go, I promise to respect your creativity by at least photographing those magic wands before sending them to the dark side.
Still (and always) your biggest fan,