06 Sep I am enough from Merideth Mehlberg
My 3 year-old LOVES getting her face painted.
Everywhere we go where face painting is offered, she is first in line. Every time, she asks for the same images to be inked on her face: Thomas the Tank Engine and James the Red Engine (my daughter adores trains).
On a recent visit to Happy Hollow, a kids’ amusement park in San Jose, she had her entire face painted in a rainbow design. By the time she went down for her nap, the colors had melted over her face into this eerie mask. It was pretty creepy looking, but she loved it….
….until it was time to take it off.
That night in the bathtub was miserable for both of us – cleaning the paint around the creases of her eyes and nose was an experience neither of us wishes to repeat.
But that painful experience hasn’t dissuaded her enthusiasm, so last week I bought some paints so we could do it ourselves.
That same day, we went to the park for a sunny summer picnic. After lunch, I took out the paints and my daughter sat down and eagerly presented her face to me. As normal, she asked for Thomas and James.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I am NOT an artist…and painting these trains is not like painting a ladybug or a rainbow. It’s a whole other ball game. It requires details and a steadiness of hand that I do not have. And, the set of paints I bought came with this crummy brush that doesn’t allow you to make fine brush strokes, so painting a face with it is a messy, approximate art.
As I sat there with brush poised, trying to figure out how to paint these trains and not embarrass my daughter as she runs around the playground with my handiwork drawn on her face, a small group of girls started to gather.
“Are you a face painter?” they asked hopefully.
My heart ached for them.
“No, I’m just a mom painting my daughter’s face,” I said, a bit sheepishly.
Disappointed, they started to disband…except for one little cutie, who watched, enraptured, as I created Thomas on my little girl’s cheek.
As I painted, I kept thinking inside my head, “Oh, I am doing such a bad job. I need to start over. How can I do this? I don’t know what I am doing.” And yet, my daughter sat there looking at me with a grin on her face. She was SO excited.
In that moment, I realized that I AM a face painter.
My daughter doesn’t care whether or not Thomas looks as he does on her toys and books. She is delighted that her mommy is spending time with her, doing something she loves.
What a wonderful gift she gave me in that moment:
The realization that I am enough.
Just as I am.
Whether I think I’m good at something or not. The very act that I show up and am myself is enough.
Enough for my daughter.
Enough for me.
Enough for the world.
How I can remember this when the going gets tough?
How can you?
I would love to hear your comments.
About Merideth Mehlberg
Merideth Mehlberg is a San Francisco Bay Area-based Career Strategist, Life Coach, writer, wife, dog lover and mom to two active toddlers. In her paid career, she dances between expert career advice and compassionate curiosity to help professionals transform their work from blah to bliss. As a former cubicle dweller, she feels strongly called to assist those who want more from their career than just a paycheck, regardless of whether that means a small or large-scale change. She’s constantly balancing the competing demands of maintaining a creative, successful career and a healthy, happy family, stumbling along taking “imperfect action” as she likes to call it. You can read Merideth’s part-confessional, part-inspirational blog about living abundantly and working authentically at: www.meridethmehlberg.com/blog