I tromped down the stairs carrying the 14th ( it felt like the 14th) load of laundry to be folded for the day. As I rounded the corner- I noticed wriggling green lines on the wall. I looked closer. Then, I noticed several more lines in red crayola.
My face flushed with anger. I dropped the laundry basket where I stood and stomped into the kitchen to grab the magic-erase sponge from under the kitchen sink. Fury flew out from between my lips as I scrubbed the crayon off the wall.
“I can’t believe it. He is TOO OLD to be coloring on the walls. Every time I make some progress cleaning this place up, someone comes behind me and makes a mess!” The harder I scrubbed the louder I yelled, to no one in particular.
Just as I was about to begin my secondary assault on the foyer graffiti, (With chemicals strong enough to remove the blue from the sky) I heard a tiny voice behind me: “Mommy! That’s how much I grew!” Panic and tears made the voice sound ragged.
I glared at the little graffiti artist, then turned to look at the lines again. They were not the random lines I had at first assumed. The green magic marker and red crayon were interspersed with carefully hand inked lines and dates. He was right- this wasn’t graffiti- this was history. HIS history. This was the corner where he and Daddy had been tracking his growth.
What had caught my eye wasn’t a random destructive act- but a “colorizing” of the lines that had already been there- with full parental approval and cooperation.
For a full minute I said nothing. I held an internal debate. Part of me wanted to save face. He HAD drawn on the wall, and it was in marker! (On flat white builder grade paint…which should be against the law- if you ask me. But I digress. ) My anger was justified- wasn’t it? I felt like a confused Jeopardy contestant. I could hear the theme music playing in the background.
“Do do, do do, do do do, do do do do doot, do do do do do …”
As the theme music played on in my brain, I realized it was a dangerous game. I could either continue on the warpath- and take out the little graffiti artist – convincing him of the justness of my war, or, I could take responsibility for my over reaction.
To be honest- taking him out sounded less traumatic, to me, at least. But when I looked at his face- and the bright green marker of history on the wall.. I knew that my decision would become part of the history of our lives that would be written indelibly on our hearts- not the walls.
The decision was much more simple then. The Jeopardy theme stopped instantly.
“I’m sorry for freaking out honey, I should have looked more closely.” I stuttered. He looked at me with pity and said: “It’s ok mommy, you weren’t paying attention- you were tired and mad.” (Funny how kids always know exactly how you’re feeling- even when YOU don’t.) I filled him in on the fact that Daddy would be the only one allowed to mark on the walls. I let him know that any revisions of the historical markings would need to be supervised by an adult.
And then, together, we re-colorized the wall.