When things become too overwhelming for my children. When their heads are spinning and they are literally walking around in circles, we go outside. Once we get our big energy out, we have to recover from the intensity we were burning off (my children have some challenges with over stimulation and sensitivity related to heightened imaginations. And I’m not bragging, or exaggerating. Believe me – I so wish I was).
So we come inside, and as much as we can, we gently crash land with some making. It’s not always successful. Explosive crash landings are still more common than any of us are comfortable with. But it does seem that creativity helps re-ground us. It is always simple (too many materials or too many new ideas at this point can breed anxiety for both of them and we can quickly spiral out of control once more). Paints, pens, pencils – they help us come back to earth after our imaginations and our bodies have taken us to another place (and by we I mean them, with me spotting below, and hoping I am prepared to catch them as they return to earth).
It’s presented some unforeseen challenges, having babes that are passionate, sensitive, and struggle to separate their ongoing imaginative world from the physical world. But it has offered far more beautiful experiences than ugly. It’s been striking to watch the movies that my eldest makes, or study the drawings and paintings of entire worlds (complete with languages and alphabets) that he creates and exists in at least part of the time.
It’s been mind boggling to listen to the self analysis of my 2 year old as he explains his anger and distinguishes between mad and mean. Or to watch him feel the hurt of others and reach out, almost in a panic, to seek them out (even at the grocery store) and give them something. Anything. To help them feel better.
It’s been exhausting to try and keep up with both of them. To give and take in the right quantities and the right order. To provide the safe landing zone and also the space to soar. Honestly, I’m not always convinced I was the best choice of parent for these two, but I never sought that I am the most committed mama they could ask for.
In my home, days can be rocky. Weeks can be too. But we always have creative supplies on hand. Because for us, making is not optional or extra curricular. It’s therapy. It’s meditation. It’s mediation. It’s contemplation. It’s medicine in the best way. It’s necessary. And perhaps this will be just one more tool they can keep in their back pocket as they learn to find their way in the world.