I was a little skeptical when Zac brought home two bags of the miniature pumpkins, which came with their own brushes and paints.
Wyatt is more rough and tumble than artsy. He usually loses interest in coloring sheets after a minute or so.
However, I wasn’t about to let those two go wild with a carving knife, so I gave the painting project my blessing.
I expected my job would be cleaning up the huge mess that they would no doubt make, but they insisted that I join in on the fun.
Reluctantly, I sat down at the table with my own brush and pumpkin.
Some people lump writers and artists into the same category. I consider myself to be the first but definitely not the latter.
Even as a kid, I didn’t like to draw or paint.
I preferred to trace things because I was guaranteed to get a pretty picture every time. Results were more important to me than the experience.
Who knew that a lack of idle doodling as a child would stunt my artistic ability?
I do not exaggerate when I say that I draw at a first or second grade level.
Some readers may remember a couple of years ago when I decided to paint something for a coworker whose wife was expecting.
Not only did my 10-year-old mentor make fun of me and I came close to shoving my foot through the canvas, but I was also told that strangers who saw it hanging near the new baby’s crib thought one of the couple’s other children had made it.
Thankfully, painting is not a necessary life skill. Entire stores in malls were invented for people like me.
But as a mommy, there comes a time when it’s best to go ahead and bite the bullet — or brush, as the case may be.
When I let my mind wander, it was immediately drawn to the beach. I ended up with a pretty decent ocean scene, complete with sailboat, lighthouse, whale and (per Wyatt’s request) a house.
Painting was not as painful as I had feared. In fact, I sat down and worked on a second pumpkin one night when the boys were asleep and I had a lot on my mind.
Although I was pleased that my pumpkin didn’t turn out to be a disaster, the most fun I had that night was watching Zac and Wyatt.
Their painting techniques confirmed so much of what I already knew about their personalities.
For example, Zac originally planned to draw a red University of Alabama “A” on his pumpkin. Then Wyatt accidentally bumped his elbow while leaning in for a closer look.
“Don’t worry about it, buddy,” he said.
Without missing a beat, he painted the whole pumpkin red and drew a white “A” on later.
Zac is a pro at turning lemons into lemonade. While people like me are still complaining about plans that didn’t work out, Zac is quietly making the best of the situation.
Then there are people like Wyatt, who are just enjoying the moment while it lasts.
Wyatt wasn’t drawing anything in particular on his pumpkin. He just smeared paint on there with reckless abandon.
Initially, he only had four colors at his disposal.
By the time he got through with his various combinations, which sometimes involved dipping the brush in two or more colors simultaneously, I’m pretty sure he had invented a few new hues.
“Look, I got all the colors of the rainbow!” he said proudly.
He used this technique on several more pumpkins that night.
To my amazement, each one came out looking completely different.
Next to theirs, my little gourd looked like it had been decorated by someone who was trying too hard.
There’s some truth to that. I still make the mistake of valuing the results over the experience.
I think that’s one reason God gave me such a happy-go-lucky husband and a free spirit for a son.
I need them to show me how to have fun, and they need me to help clean up their messes. I’d say that’s a fair trade.