Darling Daughter’s Creativity Reveals a Key to Seeing the Big Picture

Before the Big Picture Revelation

There was a time in my life where you might have described me as “anal retentive”.

I call this my Former Life and in that incarnation, I loved to balance my finances down to the last penny every single Friday. I required that all of the wood in my house be of similar color, stain, and grain – this includes furniture pieces, frames, cabinets, and accessories. My closet was organized by article, then by use, and then by color. I wanted everything to be in perfect order.

Sometimes I look back at that version of me and I am in awe at how different I am now.

Back then, I was so caught up in the details that my big picture vision was lacking. I have almost completely transformed from that person, into a more free-flowing, creative, artsy sort of person… but, I have a few flare-ups from time to time.

Take my fingernails and toenails, for example. As you can imagine, my original preference is to have them a certain length and all the same color. Even though I regularly allow my daughters to give me make-overs, including manicures and pedicures, I have always been a stickler about choosing which single color would be applied to my nails.

The Big Picture Presented by a Child

Seeing the big picture looking at chipped fingernails
In my Former Life, I would have never been caught with chipped or peeling nails, either. Look how far I’ve come! *snicker

Recently, a makeover took place, and as I was multi-tasking (letting her primp, prod, and poke as I worked on my laptop), my daughter pulled a fast one on me. She painted my finger nails with THREE different colors -a pretty melon, a golden yellow, and a deep pink. Each nail was a single color, but the colors rotated from melon to yellow to pink and then started over.


I thought it slightly unusual for her to intentionally not follow my wishes. So, I asked her why she painted my nails in all these different colors.

“Because these are your favorite colors from every sunset, Mom. They’re called ‘Sunset Nails’. I painted mine that way, too – to remind me of you.”

Well, I’ll be damned if this isn’t my new favorite way to have my fingernails painted! My attachment to the ‘same-ness’, the match-y match-y, and the order from my Former Life seems so irrelevant to me now. Every time I look at my own fingers, I am reminded of how thoughtful my daughter is. She knows how much I love those colors, and how much I enjoy the sunset. And what was once a desire for order and neatness is now an eccentrically bold (for me) fashion statement.

How often are we missing the Big Picture?

This experience got me wondering how often we are so attached to details of everyday living that we miss the bigger picture. Is catching that larger vision as simple as trying something new? Perhaps. Yet, having multi-colored fingernails was a first for me, so I suspect the vision of the big picture is much more than just a new experience.

I suspect that creativity infused with mindfulness and meaning = experiencing the big picture.

And my darling daughter gets the credit for revealing this to me.

With mucho a latte of love and respect,

Janet Louise Stephenson signature

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Leave a comment below if you’ve had a similar big picture revelation. 


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9 Responses

  1. Wendy Cobrda
    | Reply

    What a wonderful story, Janet — and a great way to see things through someone else’s eyes. I can just picture you looking down at your hands thinking “oh my!”

    My daughter likes to do similar things and it used to make me crazy! She loves wearing two different socks to school. She’ll throw a tie onto a tee shirt — and then stick a flower in her hair. Her sense of style, while not mine — is hers — it works for her. As much as it’s tempting to make her do things the “right” way — who am I to say what is right for her? She’s not breaking any rules. She’s not inappropriately dressed for her age. And what harm does it cause to anyone if she has two different socks on?

    Of course, there are occasions where I need to make sure she is properly dressed, but I’ve really learned to relax and to ease up on things that are not important. It’s very freeing, isn’t it?

    I love that you are encouraging her creativity and by doing that, she’s encouraging yours!

    • Janet Louise Stephenson
      | Reply

      Ahhhh, Wendy – there are reasons why I like you! You’re an excellent mama! Your daughter is being validated by you and she will grow up to have a stronger sense of self with a healthy confidence in her own unique-ness. I give you kudos!

  2. Alison
    | Reply

    It seems like I learn more from my kids than my kids learn from me. Sure, they are {hopefully} learning manners, etc. but the lessons I learn from them are amazing.

    Today, I just took both daughters to Claire’s and we looked at girlie stuff for a hour before finding the perfect thing for each of us. We ended up getting our youngest daughter the pink “press on” nails. LOL

    • Janet Louise Stephenson
      | Reply

      I completely agree with you, Alison. Our children teach us so much! There’s a blog post or a whole library’s worth of content in this topic alone!

  3. It’s amazing how children can make us see the world differently sometimes 🙂 Do you have a photo of your sunset nails?

    • Janet Louise Stephenson
      | Reply

      Funny you should ask, Candice – I currently have Sunset Nails that are chipped and peeling, so I didn’t share a picture. But, as soon as I get my next manicure, I’ll take a picture and add it. 🙂

  4. Oscar Gonzalez
    | Reply

    Seems like uncorrupted innocence is what we need to look at in here. Kids aren’t bogged down with “should’s” and preconceptions of things. I like the story and I think like Alison said, we tend to learn more from children than they do from us. I think they learn from the world and then they teach us how things “should” be without even thinking about it.

    • Janet Louise Stephenson
      | Reply

      “Uncorrupted Innocence” is a topic worth contemplating, too. With your new little one on the way, Oscar, it ought to be interesting to see how often you get to experience the world from a new and fresh perspective. You’re going to love it!

      • Oscar Gonzalez
        | Reply

        I am sure! That is one thing I’m looking forward to this new addition to the family. Learning and growing with her probably as much as she’ll learn and grow with us.

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