Mainly this blog is about my daughter, Leah, or about me as a mother. But yesterday I had a few moments to do some self reflection as I painted my old bookshelf for the umpteenth time. To most people, that shelf would not look like anything special, or even like a particularly sturdy piece of furniture. To me, though, it is one thing that I know I will keep forever.
When I was six years old, I remember standing in the doorway and watching as my grandpa (I called him papa) and his neighbor, Mr. Kelly, lugged that bookshelf up the walkway and into the livingroom. He had built it just for me, a birthday gift. From the time I was little something special that I shared with my papa was a mutual love of reading.
As I reflected on this while painting, I thought of all the layers of paint on it and how each one represented a different phase of my life.
On the bottom there are multiple layers of white. It’s interesting that the white, a color symbolizing purity and innocence, are from my childhood. This was a time where I developed most of the hopes and dreams for my life that I still harbor deep inside.
Around the age of sixteen I repainted the shelf again, but this time I chose an outrageous hot pink color. That was a time when I had little responsibility and enjoyed the fun that most teenagers have at that time in life. It was the time period where I met the man I am now married to. It was also the time where we got into some trouble together, sneaking friends into the drive-ins in the trunk, breaking into a public pool after hours. At a time when not all of my choices were wise, I chose a garish color for my bookshelf, one that would never match my adult furniture now.
Yesterday I painted the shelf brown. It sounds like that would be boring and conforming and all together neutral. On second thought, though, is brown not a mixture of many different colors? I have many layers now, and fill several different roles as a person. Just as the white and pink reside underneath the brown, I still have my innocent hopes and dreams, and a streak of wild in there, but I am also a mother, a wife, a friend, a student, a writer, a homemaker, and so much more. I become more well rounded each day as I learn new things and find different parts of myself.
Perhaps one day I will be old and gray, but for now I am brown. A mixture made up of many different colors. Just like my shelf.