It’s 8:30 am, and the girls are out the door, on their way to summer activities. The kitchen table is littered with breakfast and arts and crafts debris. On top of plastic cups, next to my daughters’ three, still wet and freshly painted art, dabs of remaining white, orange and red paint remain.
I never was a painter myself growing up, but I always admired others who were artistic. So as a parent, rather than wash out the leftover paint on brushes, cups and plates, my “waste not want not” side comes to the fore, and I happily serve myself a fresh sheet of paper, upon which I might create my own piece of morning artwork.
My brush uses the left over red to make a sunset sky. It’s a bit dark, I find, too much of a maroon shade of red, so I add some white to soften it. Another brush with left over dark blue creates a bottom panel of dark waves. The left over mustard yellow becomes my setting sun. A few added touches of white here and there finish off my sea and sky scene, with faint purple strokes of color. Now I’m finally ready to clean up, and I feel rested by the short playful exercise.
We are in week three of the girls’ summer break. The term feels a bit of a misnomer. Mia has been attending summer school, and we have filled the hours with swim team meets and practice, summer camps, a planned trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa back East, and horseback riding lessons. The never-ending tasks of laundry, bills to pay, and work remain, squeezed in between grocery shopping, meal preparation and social obligations. Summer break, perhaps, but it’s a break mostly in the measure of longer days with warmer weather, not because Momma has any less work to do, that’s for sure.
I empty the dryer of laundered towels from yesterday, to make room for the load of linens that needs to go in it, and circle back, pausing at the kitchen counter to admire my artwork. My sea and sunset impressionistic painting sits next to three paintings of hearts, drawn by the girls for their father’s upcoming birthday. My painting could have easily been drawn by a nine year old too, and fits in with the others, other than the fact that mine does not have a heart on it anywhere. I breathe deeply, enjoying the serenity of this moment.
And then it’s time to go, to shuttle Mia from summer school to gymnastics camp, and tackle my “to do” list. A mother’s work is never done.