My beloved late mother-in-law set the bar really high for motherhood. Bill, his sister and Bill’s childhood friends all remember a creative ease that seems to have been around the kitchen table on a regular basis. It never sounded as though it was a big production or anything. She just seemed to always have a the perfect materials within reach so even non-artsy kids wouldn’t hesitate to jump in. “She always made it look so easy,” is a phrase I’ve heard from so many of her admirers. No pressure, right?
For the past few years Bill has always managed to say “We’ve got to get Sophie started making potato prints. We always made potato prints when I was a kid. It’s such a great activity for kids, making potato prints,” right about the time I’d just cut up the last potato for vegetable soup. Unlike other craft supplies that last I never seemed to get the timing/potato availability combo right. I’ve heard doctors talk about the stress that causes heart attacks is not usually the stress from deaths and crises but rather the constant stress of small things like the broken hinge on the back door that you never get around to fixing. For some bizarre reason, my inability to make the potato print activity happen was starting to cause me to stress out every time I saw a potato!
So in the midst of a ton of totally stressful deadlines a couple of weeks ago, I went to make lunch on a Sunday and noticed that there were two potatoes that had sprouted under the sink. I swear that sirens went off in my head. Oh my gosh! I have to do potato prints! Right this moment! Because I can’t have this on my Mommy To Do List for another day! I made the long-awaited family proclamation that I would be gathering all of the supplies for making potato prints after lunch. Surprisingly no trumpets sounded and no one rang the doorbell to notify me that I had finally been promoted from Associate Mom to Full Mom.
As expected, it was Sophie’s favorite new activity and within days she asked to make them again. We used some simple carving tools Bill had for printmaking as well as an x-acto knife. We used inexpensive acrylic paints and made note cards and patterns that we may recolor in Photoshop for fabric designs. Sophie didn’t want to stop and I am now putting her in charge of reminding me to get potatoes when the mood strikes. I no longer need to shoulder that heavy burden.
I should be fine until Bill remembers that his mom’s old pasta machine is in the basement and that we should show Sophie how much fun it is to make polymer clay projects with it.