My five-year old came home from latch-key a few months ago with a simple drawing made with glue and glitter. I didn't feel proud, I felt jealous and sad.
With nostalgia I thought about my abundant craft supplies of yesteryear. The days when I made my holiday cards, wrapping paper and gifts.
Quickly banish the images of items on Etsy or by Martha Stewart. I received consistent complaints about my generous use of glitter and the mess it made for the recipients. I rarely saw the homemade gifts displayed. But, as I am sure they are, I am too, a big believer in re-gifting and a supporter of Goodwill.
In true holiday spirit, making those things wasn't just to annoy family and friends, it was about me. I loved making it all, even the mess. Right now I can still taste a bit of that deep pleasure and satisfaction. Sitting at my old dining room table with craft supplies spilling on to the wooden floors and my fingers peeling from decoupage and craft glue.
And with that, I revisit a familiar feeling of how my kids would have loved the younger me. My energy, creativity, ideas, enjoyment of cooking and baking things not out of a box, and the ability to function on less sleep.
Creating with my son when he was younger just frustrated me. He had the nerve to act his age and lose focus just at the moment I was getting excited about my project. Or, he would start “working” on mine and I became the child melting down because he “ruined” my project.
Now he sees potential craft supplies all over the house since I don’t remember to fill up his supply bin as nicely as mine once was. We have impromptu crafting sessions on the bedroom floor using the store bought wrapping paper supplies, old magazines, and anything in my hoarding collection.
For the holidays we bought him a giant bin filled with colorful paper, markers, crayons, stickers, glitter, glue sticks and paints. I knew he’d love the supplies and I’d love that in case of a cleaning emergency, everything had a place to go.
I knew that mostly I’d love the brief holiday-high leading to a release of long held guilt by finally buying him the things I think my younger self would have had on hand the day of his birth.
The crafts have been a huge success for both of us. Snowflakes, and valentines have been made and a lot in between.
As with the definition of true creativity, it can’t be hampered by the box of crafts. This morning he’d hung a new collage of craft projects, paintings, drawings, junk mail, and post cards from the recycling bin. Painted paper plates decorate the edges of his bookshelves. And it is all magnificent and his own.
Another benefit of not being contained by our craft container was when our holiday wreath was falling apart. I put a few quirky things together to make a new one. Proudly, I shared my work with him. He immediately took the wreath from me and went to work. He added his touches and it became a uniquely, finished product now hanging proudly on our front door.
Here I am, many years older, less energetic, and finding a creative connection with my son and an outlet for myself. Current exhibits can be seen on the front door, windows, and all exposed surfaces in the house.