My wife has asked that we paint the walls with the new “Cool Light Grey Centre Stage N550-2” from the new Home Depot catalog. I'm not sure we should.
You see, there is a plastic kitchen in my living room. With a microwave, an oven, a sink, a stove, a grill, and shelves to hold the plastic plates, cups, forks, knives, and pots and pans.
There are red and brown and orange and green and some very strange black stains on the carpets in my den, bedroom, and study. And there are half-eaten lollipops stuck to the back of my favorite chair.
Crayon-art graces my den walls. It comes in yellow and orange and blue: “Look Daddy! I make pi-turs.” Indeed, he created those “pi-turs” when he was two, much to the disgust and dismay of me and his mother. "This is why we can't have nice things!" we screamed. But now that the kids are getting older, growing up, and making less “pi-turs” in the den, I'm starting to see more of their beauty.
A part of them – something that they'll forget they ever had – is in those drawings.
Sticky, 4-inch handprints glisten three-feet from the floor on almost every wall in the house. But soon those prints will grow, and the hands that made them will become strong and long and experienced. Our babies' hands will do amazing things…
Maybe they’ll write the next great American novel. Perhaps they’ll paint masterpieces to be hung in museums or office buildings or mantles throughout the world. They might make sculptures, build houses, throw balls, or play pianos, guitars or first chair in a symphony orchestra. They might simply hold my grandkids with love and care.
I shudder to think of the pain they’ll endure: broken bones, scratches, bruises, and paper cuts. If only I could hide them from slammed doors, errant sewing needles, and carpel-tunnel syndrome.
My kids are at a place in their lives when “holding daddy’s hand” is still a joy and a comfort – a privilege they alone can brag about at Mother’s Day Out or in the plastic ball pit at McDonald’s.
Their hands used to be barely big enough to fit around my index finger or thumb. They are bigger now. And growing still.
“Honey, let’s not paint the walls just yet. I think they look just fine.”