I set her up at the craft table wearing my old smock from childhood - with "CHRISTINE PICCIONE" written in my mother's handwriting inside the neck.  Just holding it in my hands reminds me of being in Montessori school, one of my earliest memories.  Of course, art was always my favorite.

As I strapped her into her booster seat, she looked at me with wide-eyed expectation, unsure of what mama was about to put in front of her.  I handed her a paint brush, squirted some paint colors onto a paper plate, and she immediately dove in...

Of course, once she started, she didn't want to stop.  She pointed at the paints asking, "Mooore? Mooore?" 

So I loaded on more colors, took out some card stock left over from a baby shower, and smeared her hand in the paints and slapped it on the card to make a handprint. 

She giggled.

She looked up at me.

Then she started slapping her hand all over the different pieces of card stock, completely overjoyed.

Was mama really letting her get this messy? 

Yes, mama was.

And something in me was released at that moment - perhaps all the stress from the week that had been bottled up inside, and I burst out laughing!  As we kept smearing and slapping down more colorful handprints and splashing more paint on the table, I was a child again.

By the end, she was painting her hand, and I just sat there and let her...

Yes, the childlike artist is fervently alive in her - and in me.  If leaving the artist behind means growing up, then I hope I never do.