Lessons Learned

I couldn’t have been more than six or seven. Walt Disney’s marketing already had a firm grasp on my heart, and my Lady and the Tramp coloring book was my very favorite coloring book, ever ever ever in the whole wide world, Amen.

That afternoon I spent hours – well, what seemed like hours to my six-or-seven-year-old-mind, anyway – coloring a single page. I carefully colored each dog a different color, utilizing my favorite shades – one violet-red, one purple, one blue…taking my time, concentrating on staying in the lines. I meticulously outlined each one in black crayon, a coloring technique I had learned from a friend and adopted as my own; I loved the way the black outlines made the colors seem more vivid.

I slowly – careful, now! – tore the page from the coloring book and presented my masterpiece to my mother. Beaming with pride, I waited breathlessly for the praise that was sure to come.

“Now, [LadyBug], you KNOW that dogs aren’t really purple and blue and pink, so why would you color them that way?”

Lesson Learned: No matter how hard I tried, no matter how diligently I worked, nothing I could do would ever be good enough for my mother.


9 Responses to Lessons Learned

  1. sheryl says:

    The little 6 year old devil in me wants to say something nasty to her like “Because I am not as boring as you are. Obviously.”

    But what I really wish is that I could go back there with you and reach out and just celebrate your creativity. Yay! Colorful pups!

    You are wonderful and talented and loving and smart. I am very sure you always were and always will be.

  2. Kit says:

    If I’d had a clue…..if I’d had an inkling…..

    My heart breaks each time I hear/read something unpleasant about your childhood.

    I loved (love) you with all my heart; and my heart thought then that you’d be better off without me.

    If I’d only known……

  3. Amber says:


    But yay for purple/pink/green/yellow/red doggies! 🙂

  4. CircusKelli says:

    Hugs to lil 6 year old LadyBug.

    I love you!

  5. RzDrms says:

    kit’s reply slayed me… :’-(

  6. psumommy says:

    And THAT is why, when my daughter shows me a picture she colored of Christopher Columbus and his hat is stripes of blue, yellow and green, and his face is a smudge of pink, THAT is why I say ‘Alex, that is GORGEOUS! I love the different colors you used, it makes it so beautiful!’ And I really, really do think it is beautiful.

    Hugs to you, Ladybug. I have many of the same memories. And my mom’s an artist.

  7. She obviously forgot to read the mother’s handbook in section 8.2A that the response to any artwork created in crayon, pencil, pen, charcoal, lipstick, etc. is supposed to be “Why honey, that’s GORGEOUS!”

    I mean, c’mon, what with this world be like without color and creativity? My mom says it’s a stress reliever to color with your kids. Maybe your mom didn’t know that.

  8. See, I just read psumommy’s comment, and she obviously read the handbook.

  9. amy says:


    Hug for that sweet girl.

    for some reason, this made me think of something you wrote a long time ago, can’t remember exactly, but it was about your child giving you flowers and it was lovely.

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