Karen, a single never-married thirty-year old attorney has a four-year old daughter, whom she just picked up from her parents’ home after another all-day affair in court.
Like every Thursday, Karen took her daughter, Anna, to McDonald’s for dinner, which was a very special mother-daughter bonding time. Karen ordered a salad for her and a kid’s meal for Anna. To Anna’s delight, the kid’s meal came with some crayons. While they were eating, Anna turned over the paper trayliner and began to draw a circle with some numbers just inside the perimeter of the circle. Instead of staring out the window like she usually did, Karen looked at what Anna was drawing.
“Whatcha drawin’ sweetie?” Karen asked. “A clock,” Anna said. “Are you sure it’s a clock? It’s got more than twelve numbers in the circle.” “I know, Mommy. It’s a clock for you. You said there’s not enough time in the day.”
Tears formed in Karen’s eyes.
“Why are you crying, Mommy?” asked Anna. “There isn’t enough time in the day, sweetheart. You and I have to make some more time – time for each other,” said Karen. “I didn’t know that you liked to draw so much.” “Oh I do, Mommy. Gramma lets me draw anytime I want to,” said Anna. “She does?” “Yep. We went to the bookstore today and she bought me a coloring book.” “So that’s what was in that bag. You’ve got a good grandma, honey.” “I know. She told me that YOU used to like to draw, too. When you were a little girl.” “That’s right,“ Karen said softly and was not sure if Anna heard her. “I DID used to draw a lot and do a lot of sketches,” she spoke in normal tone. “Sketches?” asked Anna “Oh, sketches. Sketches are drawings with pencils.” “Can we do some sketches at home?” “Why of course. Tell you what. When we get home, I’m gonna look for some sketches that I used to do and show you.” “Okay,” said Anna excitedly.
When they finished dinner and got home, Anna showed her mother the coloring book that her grandmother had bought her. While Karen was looking for her sketches, Anna showed came to Karen’s room every time she finished with coloring a page. Karen gave her daughter kisses, praise and encouragement every time Anna showed her another page of her work.
Karen finally found her old sketches and went into the kitchen where Anna was drawing. To Karen’s surprise, there were drawings on the doors of the white cabinets. Anna had drawn on two kitchen cabinet doors.
“Isn’t it pretty, Mommy?” asked Anna. Karen’s jaw dropped. She was stunned and could not move for several seconds.
Anna finally broke the silence, “Gramma’s kitchen is colorful. I want our kitchen to be colorful. Do you like it, Mommy?”
Karen backed into one of the kitchen walls and lowered her body to the ground until she was sitting on the floor. She cried profusely. Anna was confused why her mother was crying. When she showed her mother some of her work in her coloring book, her mother was happy and excited. Now, her mother is crying.
“You don’t like it, Mommy?” Anna finally asked. Karen was finally able to talk, “No, sweetheart. I like your drawings. It’s just that when I was a little girl, I did the same thing on gramma’s walls.” “Did she like it?” asked Anna. Karen was breathing deeply, almost hyper-ventilating and said, “She screamed at me.” Karen was now breathing more normal. “She screamed at me,” she said softly. “Why?” asked Anna. “Because I was supposed to color on the paper. I was supposed to follow the rules. I had messed up gramma’s cabinets.” “Did I mess up your cabinets?” “No, sweetheart,” Karen said quickly. “Those cabinets needed some color. I want you to keep on drawing, okay? But I will get you some bigger drawing paper for you so you can make me some bigger pictures.” “Wow! I will make the bigger pictures even prettier!” Anna said with anticipation. “How come you stopped drawing, Mommy?” Anna asked her Karen innocently. Karen took a deep breath and said. “Because I got shut down by what happened to me when I was about your age.” “Huh?” Anna asked confusingly. “I will explain it to you when you are older, sweetheart. Keep on drawing in the meantime.”