Dear Talitha

Dear Talitha

Today I want to let you know that it is ok to color outside of the lines.

Albert Einstein said, “You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece.” When talking about coloring a masterpiece I think of art. I think about our life like a painting being created. I imagine the blank canvas, the colors, the brush, the easel, the pallet, and the artist. How or what would be created on this blank canvas? Is there an outline? A structure? Is it freehand is there a thought in mind?

What I do know to help me answer these questions is the difference between process art and product art. (Stick with me, I promise it will make sense!)

Process art is the method behind the creation and a way to explore art in an open-ended, unstructured way… Humans are naturally drawn to art. It is a form of expression as we explore materials and uncover possibilities. 

Product Art is about clear steps that should be followed. It has a specific outcome in mind. It expects the final product to look like the example. It has expectations around a right and wrong way to do it. 

As a teacher, it’s my philosophy that learning is all about the process. Learning happens in the space in-between not knowing and then knowing. The process of learning allows us to uncover possibilities and develop understanding. Those moments of trying, attempting, frustration, wrestling, and challenges are the greatest moments of growth. It’s in the process we learn most about ourselves. When my students are in the learning process, I provide them with strategies on how and when to ask for help when things get hard.

As a daughter, I want to uncover possibilities on my OWN. I believe in the process and love to explore my learning independently. I want to work through the process and learn while building my understanding. Asking for help isn’t an option I take often. Maybe it’s because I am headstrong. Maybe it’s my nature.

As a mother, I anticipate the product. I set a clear expectation that should be followed. I have a specific outcome in mind. All while expecting the final product to look like the example. Instead of allowing my children to learn through the process I have wanted to uncover the possibilities for them. When I see them struggling, I want to run and make it better even before they ask for help. In doing so, I get in the way of their learning process.

In my current place of process, I find myself in all 3 perspectives: Teacher, daughter, and mother. As a teacher I want to teach through the process, as a daughter I am exploring and uncovering, as a mother I am desiring to run to my child’s side.  

Is it Process or product?

Well, it’s both. Over the years I have learned to accept that, it is ok to give my children space to color outside of lines. Something beautiful happens when we engage in this practice. I know now that through this process, my daughter is more like me than I ever realized.

When I think about the canvas, I notice there are no lines only edges. The edges serve as boundaries, not limitations. There is no right or wrong way to paint on the canvas. There are only suggested techniques to help enhance the painting process. It’s an open-ended opportunity to mix colors, use your brush or fingers, or other tools. The best part is there are no mistakes only learning opportunities. If the paint falls or drips in the other direction it will still be beautiful. What I will advise is, that the process can be messy. I’m currently experiencing messy! Your hands may get dirty, you may even think about not finishing halfway through. That’s when it’s ok to ask for help and not give up. When you are finally done, step back, and look at the masterpiece. It will be even more beautiful than you could have predicted, only because the process was so much more.

God the creator saw a blank canvas and created you and me His favorite masterpiece. He doesn’t give up on us when things get messy. He sees us and is waiting for us to uncover the possibilities. He is in the process!

Love Mom,

P.S. Love you Forever, Like You for always.

Self Portrait By: Genesis R.

Dear Gena

Dear Genesis,

I check our secret pillow-talk notebook where we would write to one another every-night. I check in hopes that you would write back. The pages where your response would be, I leave blank, but I still write, and hope.

It has 18 days since you left home, and it still feels like yesterday. At first my worry overtook me, and I was beside myself. I believe I am now going through the stages of grief. There have been days when I have been angry with you, with myself and then with God. I have spent so much time thinking of how or what I could have said to you. I am coming to terms with that the fact that there weren’t any words or actions to convince you otherwise. I am realizing this is part of your story and one day your testimony.

I don’t understand your hurt. Yet, I long to be the one to pick you up like I did when you were little. What I am realizing, is that although God gave you to me to protect and care for, it is now time to trust that God will do that. I may not understand your hurt but, He does.

I told you every night when I tucked you in that I loved you. For 18 days I have gone into your room and said the same thing in hopes that wherever you are you would feel my words.

You see I may not have always gotten it right over the years. I may not have always said the right thing or did the right thing, but one thing is true, I love you. I’ve done the best I knew how, and I pray that you will see that.

Right now wherever you are

If you are scared

angry or

even just confused

know that I still love you.

Maybe you think I’m angry with you. Maybe you think I won’t forgive you. I feel those things too. There is nothing you could do or say to make me love you less. There is nothing that love can’t fix. You see we know a savior that heals all things, that mends all things, that will full-fill his purpose in us. Let His spirit minister you. Remember you are my daughter, but you are also the daughter of a King in heaven. There is nothing He won’t do for you, for me and for us. I know right now He is protecting you and sustaining you.

I need to remind of something I’ve always told you………

I see how incredible you are. How capable you are. I see the amazingness in you. Often times you may have felt rejected by society because of your uniqueness but, Baby girl, it’s what makes your shine. Your light, the light that was gifted to you by the one who created you is breath taking. No one can take that from you because it was given by the one who made you.

I will be here waiting when you return.

And while I wait, I will write to you. So that when you return you will read these letters and understand my heart.

Love Mom

Ps. Love you Forever, Like you for always

Dear Talitha

Dear Talitha,

I am writing this with hopes to reach the hearts of mothers and daughters everywhere. I am currently in the hardest season of my life. I am writing this from the liminal space. The space in which the process is taking place. My mother’s heart is aching. Yet, I feel that these letters will bring me clarity. My purpose is to navigate the intricate mother daughter relationship and embark on a journey of healing. We are constantly learning, growing and changing and so this is me offering myself grace. As a mother I don’t always get it right. As a daughter I don’t always get it right. These roles never came with a manual. Yet, we do the best we can with what we know. And, when we know better we do better. I accept the parts of me that haven’t been that pretty and I want to share that with you. Talitha, I pray that you can accept those things about yourself as well. Let’s heal together.

Love Mom

Ps. Love you forever, like you for always