Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For at least 20 minutes, I'd snuck to the corner of the room unnoticed, quietly painting the built-in bookshelves while Liam played with his trucks and watched Curious George. But as soon as he caught a glimpse of my brush, it was over. He charged toward me, demanding, "Paint! Paaaaint!" Handing him a dry brush to "paint" with just didn't cut it.

In that moment, I could think of at least a hundred reasons to say "no." I said an immediate "no" to his help with the bookshelf, but he remained determined. "Paint, mommy!" as tears welled up in his eyes. In the split second I had to think about it, I realized I'd only said no to him out of convenience. Not because painting something would hurt him or anyone else. Only because it would be a mess, and I am living and breathing mess right now in the form of moving boxes.

I carried him upstairs and hunted around for his watercolors to no avail. All I could find was the acrylic paint. You know, acrylics. The paint that doesn't come out of clothes?

So with a deep breath, I said, "Yes, love. Let's paint!"

Yes. That tiny, but titanic, three-letter word that doesn't feel very natural for the mom of an intensely active 21-month-old boy.

But I said it. And he was thrilled.

"Taaaank you, Mommy!" he yelled as he carefully selected his colors and slathered globs of "yeh-woh" and "boo" on his canvas.

As I watched him, I felt the weight of my yes. In one sense, I'd said yes to the hassles of a paint-covered boy, an extra bath, and ruined socks. But my yes had also opened up my little boy's heart and given me opportunity to lavish on the compliments for his gorgeous work. He glowed.

I don't know what "yes" will look like when Liam is 5 years old or 12 or 16. But today, it meant an impossibly messy art project and a boy who grinned all the way from his toes. I'll take it.


  1. Hey, it could also mean a gift for a grandparent in the future! :) I need to REALLY work on my yeses. :/ Maybe we can start tomorrow with a yes! :) Ive been in the mood to paint a canvas! He is adorable, by the way! :)

  2. The clothes aren't ruined! They are now his 'paint clothes' that he has to go and put on if he wants to paint!
    Yay for YES!


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