She sat there with her crayons and coloring book, I was across the table. I had decided that right after lunch was the time to go over some paperwork that I needed to read, just before I put the clean sheets on the bed and did some more housework. The boys were in their rooms playing, so it was just me and the little princess sitting quietly in the kitchen, each doing our thing– me reading, her coloring.
She spoke out into the stillness, getting my attention:
‘Nana, when you are finished with that, can you color with me?’
I paused in my reading for a moment, thinking, ‘I really don’t like to color. How do I get out of this gracefully without hurting her feelings? After all, I have a lot of stuff to do.’
Before I had a chance to answer, she spoke again:
‘Nana, I really want you to color with me, because I miss my coloring partner.’
I could see where this was going, and yet I couldn’t stop myself from asking:
‘Who is your coloring partner?’
There are moments in life that stand still, and this was one of those. You see, her ‘coloring partner’ has been gone for over two years. Taken way too young by breast cancer when the princess was barely 6. Life is just unfair like that.
I suddenly heard myself say:
‘Let me finish this, and I will color with you.’
I looked down, but found I had lost interest in what was written on the papers, and lay them on the table. I scooted into the chair next to her, and picked up a red crayon.
Her small smooth hand, next to my middle aged, once-smooth one began their work, coloring a page together. I noticed too late that some of the crayons weren’t of the best quality, and would leave smears and clumps; something I hadn’t noticed when we bought them on sale and the kids used them by themselves.
‘I am going to add a smiley face,’ the princess said with a small laugh. I could tell she was enjoying her work as she added some art where there was none.
I watched her for a few seconds, a slight smile on her face. I lay down my crayon and took her picture, wanting to capture the moment.
There aren’t many years that we have to make an impression on the minds and hearts of our children and grandchildren. If housework has to suffer at times to bring a smile to the face of a little girl that misses her mama, then I guess life will go on with a little extra dust.
After all, masterpieces like this take two to create.