Writing on the Wall–Mom’s Creative Freedom

Today is the last day that Zoe will be six years old.
Three years ago, we started a drawing on her wall. My first inclination was to control the drawing. She wanted a fairy, and I would oblige with a “good” drawing. She could sit back and watch me draw the fairy and I would let her color the wings….that was the plan. As I started to draw, I noticed her restraint and control–she tried to suppress her desire to draw something on her own, separate from me. I knew she was struggling with whether or not it was okay for her to draw on the walls. I had a choice—be controlling or offer creative freedom.
After all, I reasoned, these are my walls in a home that we own. No, I corrected myself, these are Zoe’s walls in a home that we own. I walked out of the room and into my office, which is also in our house, and retrieved a permanent marker for her. I explained that she couldn’t write on any other walls of the house, but she could do whatever she wanted in her own room. Some parents will cringe at the freedom I have given to Zoe. Freedom to paint, color, draw, or stick whatever she wants on her walls. Yes, whatever she wants!
And, this is what she (along with me, her Dad, her baby sister, and her more courageous friends) have created in the past 3 years. Surprisingly, most of Zoe’s friends would NOT write on the walls, even when I assured them that they could. Almost as if Santa or some invisible, parental force watched them, the girls look around nervously, like this creative freedom is a trick.
Creative freedom and simplicity mean so much more to me than anything formal, organized, and coordinated. It has been therapeutic for all of us. The baby scribbles. I retreat and draw roses, daffodils, and a flower garden when I feel anxiety or sadness. At bedtime, we sit on the bed and draw, draw, draw.
My heart wilted when Zoe recently said that she wants to paint her room in the next few months. She’s growing up, and wants “plain colors.” I was terrified that she’d want taupe or sand or some other faded, muted, dulled color like I, and most people, have shrouding the living room. But, she said, “I want to paint the top half red and the bottom half, purple.” I’ll still miss drawing on her walls when the time comes for me to grow up with my daughter.

2 thoughts on “Writing on the Wall–Mom’s Creative Freedom

  1. That’s wonderful for you all to allow Zoe to write, draw, and color on her walls. Precious memories you’ve made, and instilled in her the freedom to do what she’s wants to that one wall, along with building her self-control. Writing on the Wall – Mom’s Creative Freedom, has touched my heart, and almost brought tears. Loved it! 🙂

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