You don't have to color in the lines ... - Baby Steps in High Heels

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You don't have to color in the lines ...

Sunday night, Husband and I attended a benefit for a sweet 6-week-old baby who recently passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer. This is only one of several heartbreaking stories in my small community right now. Shortly after this sweet baby gained her angel wings, another local family lost their days-old baby to an unexpected illness.

Because both of these girls are children of local musicians, the support that has surrounded their families has been from their parents’ peers – other musicians. I was surprised and awed when one of the fathers essentially hosted the benefit Sunday night. He sang a version of “Hallelujah” that had everyone in tears. The other father went back to work – on tour with his band – very quickly.

At first I thought that as a working parent, I could just not fathom going back to my job in the wake of such grief. To me, family and business have always been separate. But, as I read more posts on social media, press releases, and comments from their fellow musicians, I started to realize something bigger. Music isn’t just a job for these guys. It is who they are. It is their very being – how they feel, process, survive. It’s how they grieve and celebrate, live and endure.

I thought what a bittersweet blessing it must be for these parents to be able to “work” through these difficult days. The benefit  was arguably the saddest and yet, most awe inspiring thing I have ever witnessed.  A mix of little known singers with legends came together on stage and, very organically, used music to pour out their hearts – to express their grief and love and hope.

As I watched this unfold, I had a small realization about my own sweet girl. “This” was who she would be one day. Whether it will be through music or not remains to be seen. But watching those artists on stage literally live life in front of me, I realized that my daughter was also wired this way – she is so feeling and emotional, such a performer, and definitely a free spirit. This is all foreign to my own Type-A personality, but I am grateful for this small epiphany. It has opened my eyes and my ears, and especially my heart, to truly hear her beautiful wisdom these last few days …

“Mommy, it doesn’t matter to me if you color in the lines. It’s beautiful.”

I have tried to slow down, to listen more, to really hear and see her. She dances everywhere she goes. It takes us longer to get places because of it, but she is happiest when she is twirling. Sometimes she does color inside the lines. Sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she uses half a dozen colors on one single dress. It’s always beautiful.

I know that our two very different personalities will clash over the years. (I am willfully avoiding even thinking about the teenage years for now.) But I am also forever grateful for these two little lives, cut way too short, and for their brave parents’ authenticity. They have helped me to see my own child.

{Please keep these families in your prayers and they endure the unimaginable.}


  1. What a beautiful sentiment. How heart-breaking it must be to witness such loss. Losing a child is unfathomable, but you're right - we all manage our grief (for whatever loss) personally. Thanks for sharing this insight.

  2. Sending prayers for those families.

    Your daughter sounds like a special little girl. It's funny what causes clashes- sometimes it's differences, sometimes it's being so much the same.

  3. This was so sweet! Isn't it crazy what we learn from our little ones? Especially when their personalities are so different from our own!

  4. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain those families must be going through. My heart breaks for them.
    My younger son is very much like you, while my daughter and yours could be twins. This causes many fights in my house daily. But then I realize, that's exactly how my sister and I were. Complete opposites, always arguing, and now we are best friends. So, if you can survive the teenage years, there's hope of coming out on the other side as friends, and not just mother and child.

  5. Your little one speaks wise words we should all listen to