crayons in the carpet. and other things.

personalities captured perfectly

i was trying to clean up crayon marks out of my carpet last night, with tears in my eyes. there was a time when the thought of crayon marks on carpets and walls would've made me cry tears of a different angst. but these tears were ones of gratefulness for the little hands that scribbled the pale blue lines.

"crayons in the carpet" is a phrase i say often. when scraping play-doh out of my kitchen rug or silly putty out of parker's comforter or throwing away one of my children's new outfits after just one wear because it is irretrievably ruined. perfection in parenthood does not exist. to strive for it is simply, chasing after the wind. a futile, empty chase. mishaps and accidents that would have left me horrified pre-parenthood are simply crayons in the carpet to me now...

i started using this phrase after rick burgess shared a story about crayons at his three year old son's memorial service. they had instructed bronner countless times, like we all do, not to color on the carpet. he told a story of how, after bronner had died, he walked into his office to see his crayons scattered on the carpet. he intentionally stepped on them, crushing and grinding them into the carpet. he paused for a moment and then said, "i couldn't care less about that stupid carpet". and from that moment on, neither could i.

there are countless things that God changed in my heart the day i heard that message - this heart-wrenching change of perspective was just one of them.

of course, i don't advocate carpet coloring, or wall coloring, or furniture coloring and i still reprimand for such... but i don't shed tears over material posessions and i don't have a total come apart when something gets destroyed. not anymore. its all just crayons in the carpet.

but even more than that, i was reminded of how - in the not so distant future - there will not be crayons marks to scrub or play-doh to scrape. chloe, who starts kindergarten this fall, is already beginning her ascent out of preschool and into all things "big girl". "don't you want to watch barney", i ask... "or blues clues?". .. she laughs. but i am not joking. and my parker, my carpet artist, is following closely behind in her footsteps, shunning such preschool characters for dinosaurs and spiderman and all things superhero related. it makes my stomach turn when people tell me at every turn how very fast it all goes by, as if i'm not wretchedly, painfully aware...

we are always caught off guard by unexpected tragedy. in the wake of sudden death, an enormous part of the grief is realizing how much we had taken for granted and contemplating how we would do things differently... or how we will do things differently. as a mother, every time we hear about the death of a child we are shaken to our core. we tell ourselves that we'll do better, to live in every moment, to live without regrets... but the truth is, we can't live every moment allowing ourselves to grasp the magnitude of such a loss, because even the theoretical pain is too much to bare. a few moments spent scrubbing crayons out of my carpet is reminder enough of how grateful i am for the little, albeit mischievous, scribbling hands...


  1. Thanks for reminding me about "things". I heard Rick Burgess tell this and I had forgotten. It's so true. We worry too much over things that have no meaning. I'm happy you are blogging more often again...I missed you!


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