Chatting with a girlfriend of mine, she suggested that I needed to get out more. “Do something for yourSELF,” she said. We texted ideas back and forth, and “Painting With A Twist” sounded like the most fun, so we got out our calendars, picked a date, and scheduled it!
This girlfriend of mine is a few years older than me, is enjoying her children being away from the home with their own families, is excitedly anticipating retirement, and is just LOVING being a grandmother. You can’t help but notice how she lights up at the mention of her grandchildren. So, knowing she is 10 years more “wise” than I am, I figured she was right. I ought to, and I deserve to, do something “for myself!” Right? Right. I believe she said something along the lines of “You have to think of yourSELF once in a while, too,” (or something along those lines).
We found our seats and put on our aprons, picked up our brushes, and began to intently follow the directions of the “artist” up on the stage. A multi-colored background, followed by a tree, and then came the wooden swing that would hang from a branch.
“Oh, wait!” Pat said, as she motioned for the class assistant to come over. With that, she pulled out her iphone and scrolled through her pictures. Up north at her cabin, where she takes her grandchildren on vacation, is a big green tree with a round tire swing hanging from it. “Can I make mine different?” she asked. The assistant brought over all new colors for Pat. She did everything she could to make it “just like the tree up north,” including the leaves, the rope, and the tire swing itself. “Oh, my grandkids are going to LOVE this!”
That evening, 29 people painted white trees with pink and purple flowers. All 29 trees had a wooden swing hanging from the branch. Oh, but not Pat. Pat, who told me I needed to think of myself for a change, and managed to get me out of he house to show me how to do that – SHE painted a GREEN tree, with a ROUND tire swing instead of a wooden one. Why? Because she knew her grandchildren would love it.
I laughed at first, thinking – Nice try, Pat. You’re so cute. You can try all you want to think of yourself, but you can’t – Because your grandchildren are always on your heart.
But the MORE I thought about it, the more I realized – That’s just what we do as parents. Our kids will always come first. We will always think of them. And, doing for them just comes naturally. In fact, doing for them and thinking of them, is what brings us the most joy. Once you become a parent, it’s never “all about you” anymore, and once you become an empty nester, it still isn’t. Even in the things we do for ourselves, we are still thinking about our little ones – No matter how big they get.
My mother always said, “Once you have a child, you never lay your head on the pillow the same way again.” She was so very, very right. And Pat, what other fun projects can we find to do “for ourselves?” LOL
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