My daughter has a habit of leaving her heart on a 4 x 6 table in our basement.
You might think this table would be my most prized possession, the crown jewel of our home. In fact, it is the bane of my existence, a constant thorn in my flesh. How can this be, you ask? If your sweet six-year-old girl is laying her soul bare within the confines of this worn wood alter, how can you not declare it a sacred national monument?
Well friends, because like a rapidly spreading disease, everything that touches the table reproduces at a terrifying rate, leaving glitter glue, shards of paper, and uncapped markers in its wake.
Perhaps, you too, have a craft table in your home. You haven’t actually seen the table itself in years, but you believe strongly, it’s still there, beneath the three-foot-deep pile of half-colored on stack of papers, broken crayons, feathers, and dreaded sequins.
Remember that one day you were trying to be a nice mom and you said yes to actual glitter? The poor craft table has never been the same. Heck, you’ve never been the same. Corners of the house on another floor are still leaking glitter three years later.
Why haven’t we axed the craft table yet? Because our children love them of course, and because my sweet daughter leaves her heart there.
She writes original songs about her love of summer days, the beach, and butterflies at that table. Just when I think the craft-table-induced twitch in my eye may be permanent, I find a paper covered in pink hearts on it with the words, “I love you, Mom” scratched across the top. Just like that the craft table lives to see another day.
Some days the eyesore table is where my sweet girl processes, bigger, deeper emotions. One day, as I filled up an entire trash bag from the top of the table, I stumbled across a paper with the words, “I love you, but sometimes I feel like I don’t belong to you” phonetically spelled out. My heart sank. What had brought this on, I wondered? That day I could’ve kissed that worn out, ugly, magnet for trash because it gave me a window into the soul of one of the people I love most in this world.
When I brought the paper to my daughter and gently asked it what had caused her to write out those words she admitted she’d meant to throw them away. I told her I was so thankful she hadn’t because I always wanted to know when she was feeling this way. We talked out her feelings, and I was able to remind her that she always belongs with her family, even when she was upset with our decisions.
Sometimes our creative outlets are a little messy. Maybe they take up room in our home, or even more room in the family schedule. Some of our kiddos’ creative outlets might take up a lot of the family budget, making us wish we could give them the axe.
But if we look closely, we just might find the ones we love have left their hearts on the tables of those outlets for us to find. So in my book, those outlets are worth the mess, the cost, and the effort every single day of the week. Yes, that means the craft table has lived to see another day. But I’ve learned my lesson on the glitter. (Well, at least until next week.)