It was a long and rough winter here in New Jersey. With sunnier and warmer days arriving, we were bursting at the seams to get outside and get some fresh air. My 2.5 year old daughter was probably more eager than anyone else. She is a different child than she was last spring, so everything is new to her in a sense. She understands more, is interested in more and has an imagination that takes her to wonderful places. I put the bucket of sidewalk chalk down on the driveway one sunny Saturday afternoon, I setup up my 6 month old son in the bouncer to observe, and I tried to soak in the sunrays as well. My daughter eagerly started drawing lines, with her brother looking on. She narrated to us what she was drawing, telling us the story behind each picture. There were numerous rainbows. The one lone long yellow line turned out to be a big slide, and the blue lines with the dots were the choo-choo train tracks. I could see it all come alive as well. There was scribble that she said were the ABC’s, and we would all sing along. She would ask me to write her name or draw a flower here and there. We questioned each other about the colors, and we traced our hands. We were covered in chalk by the time we were done. It was getting cold and dark, so it was time to go in.
My driveway held onto her stories for a few days afterwards. Every time I loaded her into my SUV and opened the garage and backed out of the driveway she got excited to see her artwork. We relived some of the stories again. I couldn’t help but to be proud of my driveways artwork as well. My driveway bared the story of my family. I was proud of the colorful collages drawn all over it. When it was nice and warm out again, we did the same thing. Sometimes our stories lasted on the driveway longer than other times. But no matter how long they stayed visible, we still talked about them for days to come. It was forever leaving imprints on my heart.
During the past few weeks as I casually chatted with neighbors I was surprised how many of them commented on my colorful driveway art. My one neighbor reminisced about how his two daughters use to love chalk as well and at one time filled the entire cul de sac in color. His oldest is now in college. He talked a little bit to me about his children growing up on the street. He had a big smile on his face. Other neighbors commented about how they enjoyed seeing her pictures and hearing her sing while doing it and how it reminded them of their childhood. What I thought was only something my children and I enjoyed, I noticed the entire neighborhood observed and enjoyed as well.
I’m proud to say I have learned to appreciate sidewalk chalk in a whole new way. I am thankful that it allows my daughter to express herself and to explore her imagination. It has reminded me to slow down a little, to be more colorful and to appreciate all that I have. It has also allowed other looking in, to remember fond days of their past as well. In the end, sometimes the simple things turn out to mean the most. So go outside and chalk up your driveway today.