On Monday afternoon, the countdown began. In less than seven days, our one and only little girl starts Kindergarten. There is an ambivalence injected into this beginning, knowing that she will enter into a world of reading words, adding and subtracting, and interactions that see-saw between happy and hurt. I’ve secretly wished for this week to move slow, so that I can take a snapshot of all those moments that will lead to her latest milestone.

We spent part of the day painting pictures. Covered with old towels, the kitchen floor became fertile ground for painting masterpieces. I squeezed the various paints onto a paper plate that doubled as an easel. My daughter brought sheets of colored paper and brushes and we both sat Indian style as we started to paint. As the brush moved on the surface of the paper, I sensed an ease inside. It took me by surprise because I am not accustomed to this kind of stillness. We sat under a canopy of quiet while our paintbrushes conversed. Eager to please, after every painting, my daughter would ask, “Do you like this painting Momma?” Of course, not one to squash a budding artistic spirit, I responded, “Of course. It is beautiful.” After forty-five minutes and eight paintings later, my daughter decided it was time to end our endeavor.

She gathered all our paintings and spread them out, surveying what we had accomplished. Declaring each piece a masterpiece, she laughed and said, “This is was so much fun.”  I nodded my head, agreeing with her statement. I showed up, I thought to myself, not distracted by my computer or i-phone or to-do lists. It is about sharing space, laughing, hugging, playing and painting. These are brush strokes that define a wholly ordinary life, but I suspect these are the moments that I will recall.

Someday I will look at those paintings, maybe five years from now, and feel the texture of her beginning and the stillness of my own spirit.

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Have you felt a stillness when interacting with your children? How do you handle milestones in your child’s life? Are you ambivalent about them?

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