Tonight we played. She was dressed in one of her sparkly pink princess dresses, the kind I was sure my daughter would never own. I was wearing a small gauzy blue cape with a fuzzy white fur collar, the only piece of her princess wardrobe that fits mama.

We started with dance lessons, my two and a half year old an odd combination of joyful sprite and serious drill sergeant, twirling gleefully while I watched and then stopping to order me to “do that!”.

We laughed with delight, twirling and leaping around her bedroom until she suddenly looked at me with grave concern.

“Mama, you broken. Doctor Princess help you.”

She ran off and grabbed her trusty small pad of paper, the one with an “E” on the front and filled with pages and pages of important notes and detailed drawings that look like messy scribbles to the unknowing viewer. She quickly found a blue crayon and instructed me to sit down. I didn’t argue.

“Me fix you now, mama” she stated with enough conviction to have me wondering if maybe I was indeed broken in some way.

Her small hands took her pad of paper and placed it against my chest. She held it there, pressed against my breast bone. With her other hand she took her blue crayon and colored on a fresh sheet of paper in the pad.

“There. Better now. Me fix your arm now.”

She moved the pad of paper to my arm, held it there, took a deep breath and colored again.

“Udder arm now, mama.”

My sweet girl proceeded to “fix” all my major body parts using the same Doctor Princess cure of holding her pad of paper against me and coloring. She eventually declared me “All better mama!” and moved on to pulling all the books off her shelf for sport.

Meanwhile, I sat recovering from the healing session I just received from my Doctor Princess. Her medicine is art. A small drawing to ease the pain, to fix what is broken inside, to heal the small injuries that no one can see.

This is not so different from how I have worked to heal myself. When I struggled with the deep pain and emotional confusion of surging hormones and sleep deprivation in the year following my daughter’s birth. When I felt so alone after moving to a new city where I knew no one and spent so much time alone with my small children, craving a friend and unsure where to find one. When I wasn’t sure how to bring a sense of meaning back to my life, when it felt like I was spinning in circles, so far away from my path. When I strained against the growth and change and confusion and joy that is all a part of becoming a mother.

I took paper, pens, meaningful words, paints, brushes. I moved color onto pages. I let go of my thoughts. I let my intuition guide me. I created. I soothed. I healed myself with my art.

“More dance, mama. And sing. Like this. Laaa la laaaa la la laaa!”

I looked at my daughter and wondered. How does she know? How much of my pain does she remember? Did she see my art transform me?

We danced and sang and laughed some more, my Doctor Princess and I holding hands, dizzy with love.

 

 

Kelly Dahl

Kelly Dahl lives in Ohio with her husband Erik and their two children, Cooper and Ellery. Kelly is always striving to find meaning as a mama, wife, and creative woman. She is a Personal Coach helping women to clear the path to fulfillment at Perched to Fly. She is also co-editor and creator of Sparrow Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to inspiring deliberate living. You can also find Kelly on Facebook and Twitter.