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Finding My Daughter’s Creative Heart

(A note from Nickey: I have been wanting to have some guest bloggers on this blog for a while now, and I knew that Kelly Dampier was the perfect choice to kick things off. I absolutely adore Kelly’s mother’s heart… and the transparency in her writing is refreshing to the soul. I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did. )

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by Kelly Dampier

My daughter Lily is two and a half, and I am living in a world of scribbles, paint splatters, chalk dust and crusted colors of play-do that are a whole….other….level. I know that this is typical for her age, but it’s taken me an entire year to truly realize the creativity residing in her little soul. At first I thought that waking up to her entire side of her bed covered in a rainbow of crayon colors and drawings, was just that she was getting bored before I came to get her in the mornings. It took a big moment of ‘aha’ for me though, to figure out that this is a big part of her. Once I caught on, it completely changed the way that I communicate with her and try to structure her day.

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She’s in this transition from terrible two’s to threenager. Can I just pause for a moment, and get all of your sympathy wrapped up and sent to me in the form of Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked fro-yo please? The threenager is this new, crazy beast that makes me question my salvation like every 15 minutes. It’s truly testing. We were having a ton of time-outs and a TON of meltdowns in a particular week a few months back. Each time that she’d dramatically flail her entire body into her bedroom, like a scene from Gone With the Wind, I’d approach her a few minutes later and find her sitting on her bed and coloring a new picture. Sometimes it’d be dark and very dramatic, but other times there’d be so many colors and shapes and really, truly, ART, that I’d just sit and stare. It wasn’t the normal, I’m-going-to-color-a-sweet-picture, behavior. I took a timeout for myself one night, after feeling like she was just really disconnected and not herself, and prayed about it all. Like, hey God, what is going on with my girl? Sometimes it’s our very last reaction to stop and pray, when it should’ve been our first, but praise God He still speaks in the ‘late to the party’ moments.

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He basically opened my eyes to the language that my daughter speaks. She speaks in color. In paintbrushes and glitter. Her love language is a giant box of brand new chalk and endless sidewalks. A perfect day for her, would be filled with paint and neon play-do, and crayons upon crayons upon crayons, just waiting to be used. When I’m not actively engaging her in something that’s using her imagination and creative gifting, she shuts down. Basically, when I need a hot second to suck back some coffee, and I turn on Daniel Tiger to occupy her, that’s ok. When it turns into an entire day of TV and no creative play, it’s a problem. I’m not saying that as moms, dads, etc. we don’t need moments to feel human again. I think that for my husband and I though, and maybe for you, being intentional in learning the rhythms of our children’s hearts will always yield major rewards.

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For us, we now know that Lily is into creating things. This might change, I don’t think it’s likely and it might just manifest differently as she gets older, but we make time to purposefully try to engage her in artistic expression each day. I LOVE the Colors Are Magic blog for new ideas that we would have never thought of. The Melt My Heart(s) crayons that were on the blog around this time last year, oh my gosh, she just about passed out because she loved them so much.

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I’m learning in motherhood that I am an introvert hiding behind some extrovert tendencies. I’m not into playing make believe for hours or sitting and trying to make princess castles out of play-do. It’s like a little piece of me dies inside when I’m asked for the twentieth time to ‘help me make a pictuhhhh mommy!’, Ugggghhhhh. I think that’s ok though, because I am who I am, and Lily is who she is. As a parent I’m dying to myself everyday, and my desire is to not only show my children a world filled with endless possibilities, but opportunities to be selfless when you least want to be.

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Fostering a creative spirit in Lily, and my daughter Nora, is also important. Nora is only 11 months old, and has already shown her drastic personality differences from Lily. I’m sure ‘art’ will not be her number one thing. If I just take the time though ( I mean, like intentionally take the time), to show each of them love in the specific ways that they receive it, I have a feeling they’ll both step away from my nest with hearts filled and ready for adventure. Isn’t that the beautiful thing about our human spirits? We are all just different and unique. Painting the world, one beautiful color at a time.

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{Kelly Dampier is a stay-at-home mom to her two beautiful daughters, Lily and Nora. Married to Nic, who is Creative Director/Worship Leader at their church in Western Michigan.
In her spare time, when not wrangling toddlers, she hikes, swims, and loves running marathons…Ha! Just kidding. She binge watches Netflix, buys more than she needs at Target, and writes for her blog, Messy Motherhood.}

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