Over the weekend I got to spend an evening with my friend Bethany and her adorable 2-year-old daughter T. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so this was the first time I got to meet T. She’s a bundle of energy and a firecracker. She was also amazingly willing to entertain herself with markers and a coloring book at dinner while Bethany and I talked.
As T. colored, I noticed a pattern. She’d pick a marker color and turn to the first page of her coloring book. She’d color in a character’s shoe. Then she’d turn the page and color in an arm. Then she’d turn the page and color a face. Then she’d turn the page and color a cloud. Then she’d turn the page and color a leg. And so on.
When she got to the end of the book (which only took a few minutes), she’d take a break for a minute and then pick up another marker color and start again. Each page was like a growing mosaic of colors.
As I watched her, I thought about my own coloring book habits. I don’t remember what I did at age 2, but I can tell you for sure that at age 6 there’s no way I would have been able to do what T. does. I had to finish a page before I’d let myself start on a new one. And I was always nervous to start on a new one because if I messed it up, it would be ruined. I don’t remember exactly what constituted a “messed up” page in a coloring book in my 6-year-old mind, but I remember the feeling that went with it.
Watching this child, I realized again how tightly I’ve held myself – even since I was a small child – and how much perfection I’ve required of myself. At two she has a freedom of spirit and a knowledge of what works for her far beyond anything I could have imagined. I’d like to think that in the last five years I’ve begun to find some of that sense, but I still have to think about it and remind myself. This child does it because it is a part of her.
What an amazing blessing it was to sit and watch her for an hour.
Thanks Bethany and T. for a lovely evening.