...I owe to my angel mother."
I remember at the age of three lying on the floor coloring in a Mickey Mouse activity book. This book came complete with a cassette tape that gave auditory instructions for each page. (No, I am not a Millennial, thank you very much.) This particular page was for coloring, and the voice on the tape told me which crayons to use where. The only problem was, I didn't agree with all of the color selections. I preferred pink to red in one instance. (Even then, I had an eye for color schemes. Who knew I would grow up to become an interior designer?) So when I finished my waxy Crayola masterpiece, I was anxious. I didn't want mom to notice my divergent drawing and think her daughter was an idiot who missed an instruction or, worse, didn't know her colors. There was nothing else for me to do but immediately come clean about my color conflict.
"Mom," my conscientious three-year-old self confessed, "the instructions said to color the bow red, but I think pink looks much better, so I colored it pink instead." I waited for the inevitable chiding. (I mean, the whole point of the activity book was to learn how to follow instructions--even as a preschooler I somehow knew that.)
But rather than be rebuffed for defying directions, my mom just smiled and said, "Good! I'm glad to hear that. It means you'll make your own decisions. You know you never have to do what someone else tells you to, just because they say so, right?"
WHAT? Really? I had always been taught to obey my parents, but this new paradigm was rocking my three-year-old world. I had a mind of my own, and I could make my own choices--AND my parents condoned it. The world was this youngster's oyster!
Thirty years later, I still remember that conversation with my mom on the living room floor. My mother surprised me that day, in a good way. She taught me that it was not just okay to think for myself, it was preferable. I learned that I never had to follow the crowd if I didn't want to. I could march to my own drum. I could think outside of the Crayola box. I could color the world pink! (Irony of ironies, as I write this blog post, I'm gazing at a wall in my bedroom I just happened to paint a very excessive shade of hot pink.)
So thank you, mom, for nurturing my creativity at the age of three. Thank you for giving me the freedom to be me. I'm still not good at doing what people (or society) tell me I must, just for the sake of doing it--and I'm okay with that. I still color outside the lines, and I still like the color pink. Oh, and one more thing, I still love my mother very, very much.
I love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day!