|Small part of living room wall covered in children's art (S & N)|
|Happy garden scene with snail (S)|
|Clay on paper (S)|
|Eat you heart out, Mondriaan (N)|
|Eat you heart out, Van Gogh (S)|
|The sky (N)|
|I spy with my little eye, a vase within a vase (S)|
|Ode to the much-debated Black Piet' (S)|
|A Christmas Tree, sideways (S)|
|An abstract Christmas Tree, sideways (S)|
|Was Mondriaan ever this productive? (N)|
|A prefab dinner menu (N)|
|A dog of sorts (N)|
|Lovely little hands (S)|
|Bits of colourful material stuck on red paper (N)|
|S explained this one to me at length. It is an intricate labyrinth beneath the ground made by super ants in their attempt to build a special magical city|
I was recently sorting out all sorts of artwork created by my two sweets and wondering where on earth to store it all, when M casually suggested throwing it all in the paper bin. The paper bin - what?! How on earth could I possibly throw out anything created by either pair of those beautiful little hands? "You're too emotionally attached to that stuff, you need to let go," M responded calmly when he saw my exasperated expression.
Too emotionally attached? You're darn right I am, I thought angrily as I ploughed my way through finger-painted toilet rolls and bits of cotton stuck on coloured paper. But his words made me think. I had thrown out bits and pieces before, but always with feelings of guilt and sadness. In my mind's eye I would see either S or N colouring, sticking, folding or cutting away, lips pressed together and eyes focused in utmost concentration and I would feel that all too familiar pang in my chest. By throwing something out, it was like I was dismissing their efforts, not appreciating their creative beings; it even felt like I was betraying them (sounds dramatic, I know).
Just today I was giving it all some thought. Maybe M is right when he says I need to let go. Perhaps my allowing the house to become cluttered with the children's art is because I don't want to let go of something - their childhood, for example. But the Buddhist in me knows that childhood - like all other things - is there to be enjoyed and let go, not to be clung to. I also realised that it is my mind that makes up a story, a story that has little bearing on reality. Throwing stuff out doesn't mean I am betraying anyone - it just means I'm sorting out and decluttering.
Yesterday N came home with a lovely caterpillar she had made. She proudly showed it to me and said: "Look mama, I've made a caterpillar." My heart melted. Whatever happens to the rest, Mr. Caterpillar is staying.
Do you have difficulty throwing out your children's artwork? Do you even throw it out at all, or do you keep everything? Or have you thrown out stuff and regretted it? I would love to know.