May 19, 2009

The Greatest Story Ever Told

The other night, Mia and I were coloring. We do this a lot. Coloring rocks. For some reason, Mia decided that she was going to write a story. And she did. Kinda. She scribbled lines of imaginary text across the paper. When the page was full of doodles, she told me that she'd finished.

Me: What's the story about, Mia?
Mia: Oh, it's about when you and mommy first met.
Me: Really?
Mia: Yeah.
Me: I can't wait to hear it.

And then she was done.

Me: Can you tell me the story?
Mia: Sure. Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Chris. He grew and he grew and he grew and then he was born. And then he grew and he grew and he grew some more. There was also a girl named Beth. And she grew and she grew and she grew. Then they met in college in a bathroom and they fell in love because it was love at first sight like a fairytale. Then they kissed and were married. Then along came a little girl and her name was Mia. And a little boy who was named Owen. And they all lived happily ever after.

I told her it was a beautiful story, because it is.

For some reason, hearing all of this coming out of Mia's mouth filled me with an absolute sense of pride and fulfillment. I think know why.

- This is proof that she actually listens to us.
- She mentioned her brother without intimating that he's ruined her life.
- Mia recounted the parts of my life that led to her being there. She goes on these kicks in which she wants to find all these things out - where we were born, where we grew up, what our parents were like, where our middle names came from - and she actually processes this stuff and bases some of her world around them. Watching that work is awesome in the true sense of the word.
- Our story - the story of Beth and I - is her story. And it's a story she loves, as we love her.

On a side note, I managed to catch an interesting discussion with children's author Mo Willems on NPR a few weeks ago. Long story short, the point was that somewhere along the way on the journey from adulthood from kidhood, we stop drawing. And that's a shame. Do you draw?

Posted by Chris at May 19, 2009 6:30 AM

That is a beautiful story. Indeed. I love colouring too - although when I read colouring rocks, I thought you meant that you were colouring rocks. Literally. Clearly I need to go to bed. I did draw - up until a little while ago (kids and grown up life got in the way) but I am SO enjoying getting into it again with the minx.

Posted by: Beth at May 19, 2009 6:53 AM

i still draw... and when i had to color the "anatomy coloring book" for massage school..i thought it was the best went and got the best colored markers (thin) i could find!!! after one of my students a few years later colored it in pencil and it was so beautiful... and mine being worn from using it so much...i bought colored artists pencils ($90 at the time) and another anatomy coloring book... (freakish i know)... but mom said i never had to grow up... and i color and draw at 57 and have no children to encourage me even...

Posted by: the unicorn at May 19, 2009 7:08 AM

I like that she got the bathroom part right, and the happily ever after too ;)

Posted by: Heather at May 19, 2009 7:29 AM

She is precious.

Posted by: Dee at May 19, 2009 7:57 AM

One of the totally hidden benefits of having kids was getting to color, draw, read simple stories, play with play-doh and just "play". It's impossible to describe how good it feels to people who have long given it up.

A while back when I had the kids by myself I took them outside to play in the rain. I knew they'd be soaked and I'd have to dry their clothes but I didn't care. I taught them how to really jump in a puddle and sit in the curb where the water runs by. I really missed doing that.

Posted by: Brad at May 19, 2009 8:55 AM

Like you, I draw and color with my kids. But no, I don't really draw on a regular basis on my own unless of course you count drawing in Visio??

Posted by: Darrn at May 19, 2009 9:15 AM

It's timely that you mention this because I was just thinking how I don't really draw anymore. I used to be very into art and in high school, I was always sketching something. And it was never half bad. So I pulled out an old sketchbook yesterday and started carrying it around with me. It's fairly therapeutic.

Posted by: Claire at May 19, 2009 9:23 AM

I used to draw all the time as a kid. My hands were permanently stained with ink or paint or both. Sadly, I don't really draw anymore. Although I do take on the occasional Arts & Craft project. They other weekend I started on an inspirtation board which was loads of fun (and still in progress). But now I think I might go bust out my box of 64 crayons and color. How much fun.

Posted by: Country Girl at May 19, 2009 9:34 AM

You should read a book called "The Hurried Child" by David Elkind. But I think you would be surprised how we need to play to learn.

And yes, I do still draw now and then. Nothing artistic. But my daughter and I would draw before I dropped her at school. I've kept those drawings somewhere. I love them.

Posted by: Knot at May 19, 2009 9:43 AM

Yes, in Feb I took a illustrated watercolor journaling class, I am trying to do at least 3 sketches a week.

This last weekend I took another kind of journal class that had me coloring pages with paint, chalk, pens, and ink pads...

Its good to keep your little kid alive!

Posted by: gypsy at May 19, 2009 10:00 AM

Isn't that an awesome realization? I remember when my oldest figured out how we were all related.. I mean beyond our immediate family.. She figured out why my cousins were my cousins, and how they are her cousins.. and how grandpa's brother is my Uncle and that makes him her GREAT uncle (because he really is great! ;) )

I don't draw, but I do Doodle.. a lot .. especially in meetings, looks like I'm taking some really good notes!! :)

Posted by: Molly at May 19, 2009 10:10 AM

I heard that Mo Williams interview, too, and was inspired to start drawing with the Buddha. Except that I seem to have forgotten how to draw anything except my patented doodle flower and stick figures. I literally sit there, frozen, unable to think of a single thing to draw.

I think that part of my brain died through neglect.

Posted by: Alias Mother at May 19, 2009 10:18 AM

I never stopped drawing. I loved it so much that I went to art school and spent all of college drawing and painting. It was much better than doing stuff like math.

I do still draw and paint, though not as much as I should these days b/c I am on the computer way too much.

Posted by: jessica at May 19, 2009 10:19 AM

I tried taking up drawing again (I mean, post-childhood) & was less than pleased with the results so I essentially quit.

I have tried with my kids a bit. Here's the synopsis of one attempt:

But the sum total of that report is that they are better at it than I. But they put a lot more into it. My kids' teacher described my oldest (now 9) as "getting INTO her art work". She still comes home covered in markers & paint. I need to play more.

Posted by: harmzie at May 19, 2009 10:40 AM

what a sweet story of a cute story of a real story.

not to toot my own horn, but i was pretty talented at drawing from childhood to college, with a lot of artists in my extended family. and then sometime in my first couple years of college i completely stopped. and i feel sort of ashamed of myself for wasting my talent.
now, my co-workers ask me for little characterized doodles when work is slow, but they really don't know what i'm capable of. and i practice photography as a creative outlet...

but now that you bring it up, i feel a little crappy about it again :)

Posted by: kati at May 19, 2009 10:56 AM

That's a really good point. I used to draw a lot as a kid and was pretty good at it, too. Then I stopped for absolutely no reason at all. Then I started writing and was told that I was really good at that, too, then I stopped for absolutely no reason at all. Then I start writing again.

The moral of the story is that I'm kind of a dick to myself for no reason at all, but at least I've started writing again.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 19, 2009 11:01 AM

Wow, I haven't been reading your blog lately Chris, just because I've been so busy, but after reading this post I realize how much I've missed it.

Posted by: Samantha at May 19, 2009 11:15 AM

I only draw on bathroom walls

Posted by: Maria at May 19, 2009 11:17 AM

You know I don't draw anymore, but mostly because I'm terrible at it. I still love to color, though.

I love that Mia picked up on the part about how you guys met in a bathroom.

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 19, 2009 11:38 AM

We love Mo Willems......and yes, so many adults stop drawing. Both of our kids have a Magnadoodle in the car. We all take turns drawing on it during long car rides and tell stories about what we have drawn. We also play this game with the kids to keep them on their make any three random marks (lines, corkscrews, curves, etc) on a piece of paper. The second person has to make an entire picture out of these three random marks. It is amazing what the kids come up with. Try it with Mia - she will surprise you.

Posted by: Jen at May 19, 2009 12:17 PM

I sometimes pick up boxes of crayons and markers and an interesting coloring book. But I don't tend to draw.

I obsessively doodle on things. Maybe that's a throwback to drawing.

Jen's comment above reminds me of a part of a psych test for kids that tests imagination and abstract thinking. It's a sheet of circles, tons and tons of circles, and you tell the kid to make as many drawings as they can. I've never used the test, but it's a super fun activity for my kid clients. And it's fun to see what they come up with. Dinner plates, stop signs, flowers.

Posted by: caleal at May 19, 2009 12:24 PM

Total sweetness! Give Mia a big hug for me!

Posted by: laineyDid at May 19, 2009 12:25 PM

I like to color. Not such a big fan of drawing cuz I make drawing a stick figure look hard....but if someone else does the drawings I love to color.

And I LOVE Mo Willems books!!! My favorite? "There Is A Bird On Your Head! (an Elephant and Piggie book)". If you don't have it...check it out! It is great!!!

Posted by: Amy at May 19, 2009 1:08 PM

I draw, paint and create all the time. Everyone in my family is artistic in one way or another. My dad was an artist, so it was always encouraged.
Every Christmas I make most of my gifts for my family. It wouldn't feel right if I didn't create them.

Posted by: Peggy at May 19, 2009 1:46 PM

I only draw if I'm at a restaurant with paper tablecloths that provide crayons. I still love coloring books though.

Posted by: Judy at May 19, 2009 2:07 PM

mia is ADORABLE.

do you think she'll grow up thinking she'll meet her husband in a bathroom? ;)

Posted by: kat at May 19, 2009 2:53 PM

I draw pirate maps, a LOT of pirate maps. The Pirate loves to color and draw and paint and "do projects" and I think it's about time to introduce Buggy to a crayon.

My son has never asked how his father and I met and I'm not sure how he'll understand that we met inside our computers.

Posted by: Lisa at May 19, 2009 3:00 PM

How lovely to know that she's actually hearing the things that you're sharing with her! :) And, in our house, Mo is an author-god!! Love him, even if my daughter wasn't so much a fan of him signing her book...

Posted by: morninglightmama at May 19, 2009 3:07 PM

It's the only reason I go to Macaroni Grill, because it's the only restaurant I know of in our area that let's you draw ALL OVER THEIR TABLES. And you don't have to stay and wash dishes because of it; they actually ENCOURAGE this behavior.

Cute story, Mia.

Posted by: CRah at May 19, 2009 3:28 PM

I just drew a *funny face* on my 7th graders lunch sack this morning, they needed a disposable lunch for a field trip. He was tickled to see it.

Posted by: steff at May 19, 2009 4:19 PM

Sweet. :)

Maybe you mean something completely different when you mention Mia liking to color rocks... but have you actually grabbed rocks, heated them, then used crayons on them? The crayons melt and look awesome... and then you can use it as a paperweight. Or something.

Posted by: Hannah at May 19, 2009 5:31 PM

Seriously, that is so cute.

...and no, I don't draw, but that's because I don't want to be outdone by my seven year old. :)

Posted by: The Stiletto Mom at May 19, 2009 6:30 PM

This is a lovely post, thank you.

I love Mo Willems. We have our own Knuffle Bunny and we never let the Pigeon stay up late.

I do draw, very much so, now more than when I was a child. I think it's my children who have inspired me to do so. You can see drawings I have done of my kids here and here

Posted by: Amanda at May 19, 2009 11:57 PM

I draw... not well, but I draw with my kids a lot (yes, sometimes even during church - I AM listening, honest!) Coloring has to be one of my favorite things to do with them. The first time I ever met my in-laws, I spent most of the time at their house coloring with my husbands younger brother (he was like 8 at the time... I wasn't coloring with a teenager or anything).

I love the story that Mia told too, by the way. Kids are awesome!!

Posted by: Kim at May 20, 2009 10:28 AM

I don't draw, but I scribble. They're like stream-of-consciousness, whatever's-in-my-head type writings, and I do it all the time. During meetings, at the computer, talking on the phone. I've been doing it since I was around eight or nine, and I can't help it. It's a great way to brain dump and also practice your cursive, because really, when do you get the chance to handwrite anything anymore?

Also, I love Mia's rendition of yours and Beth's story.

Posted by: Frema at May 20, 2009 8:31 PM

Cute story

Yeh, love to draw/paint (keeps me sane)
My degree is in Graphic Design but I don't really do much these days. My teacher at Art School said I was crap at drawing so should downgrade to design. At 17 this was a bit of a blow...years later I realize I should of ignored the bastard. I like to draw/paint people, especially my kids/friends.

If you have a dull moment, I've added you as a friend on facebook as I have a photo album called "portraits and paintings"....... on my video page I have music by my precocious daughter who at the tender(?) age of 15 is soon gonna take over the world : )

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