Most of the time, when I go on a walk I look at the houses. I don't think about global diplomacy or the price of gas or even what to feed Reagan for supper. I like to just look at the houses. I have a tendency to make up little stories about the people that live in the houses we walk past.
We've altered our route a bit lately (though we still pass by Martha's house)which is leading to new stories. Our new path takes us through some of the less impressive houses. One of the homes that always catches my attention is a home on a particularly "busy" street. It is not at all unusual for me to drive home past this same house and see a smattering of kids running around the yard. They leave their toys in the driveway and the yard. They have a tendency to be a bit noisy. They have an enormous picture window looking out onto the small front yard. And, honestly, it isn't an impressive looking establishment.
No, they haven't remodeled. They didn't plant any new shrubs or paint or even clean up the yard. Kids still seem to be everywhere and none of them pick up their toys at night.
The mom who I originally thought was just lazy or overwhelmed, has hung up dozens of her kids' pieces of artwork all over the giant picture window. She doesn't care that it is a busy street - she isn't embarrassed to hang up the horribly lopsided construction paper jackolantern her 6 year old made in art class. The entire window is covered in little works done by little hands. And I'm just flat out impressed. I almost stop and stare everytime. It isn't that the artwork is so unbelievably beautiful that people come from miles around just to see it - like some trendy downtown gallery. But that's about how I feel about it. She's so proud of her kids that she has no qualms about using their crayon streaked pieces of paper as decorations for ALL to see.
Most of us take our child's masterpieces and snap them up on the fridge with a magnet. Its a safe spot. The kids can think we are impressed and wowed enough to hang it on the fridge and parents are pretty much safe from the general public seeing exactly how horribly our kids color. Win win. I have to admit, I would think twice about hanging Reagan's artwork in my front window. I mean, it would have to be pretty impressive. It would have to be something worth really bragging about. It would have to be something that people would really talk about.
But that isn't what I want to be as a parent. I don't want to be parent that walks around and expects my kid to be the smartest, or the fastest, or the prettiest. Yeah, it would be nice if she were, I'll admit that. But more than anything, this woman whom I have never met has taught me that I should celebrate my child for exactly who she is, not what she could be or what I think she should be.