Graffiti for the Whole Family

Tonight, I was done.

Done done.

Done ditty done done done.

My family kept talking.

On top of each other.

All at once.

And they were loud.

And I was done.

So I quit.

I crawled under our dining room table and I quit.

They asked me what I was doing, and I said “You’re ALL SO LOUD,” and “I’m DONE,” and “I’m just going to lay down for a while under this table.” Because everything I do makes sense, friends, and it was one of those times I felt it was crucial to drive home important truths to my family like Embrace Who You Are!, and Be Yourself!, and, of course, to always, ALWAYS lead by example, and the most true version of myself in that moment meant curling up under the table and quitting.

Authenticity. It starts at home.

Eventually, though, I recovered enough to reengage.

Hooray!

And, by “reengage,” I mean “commit petty acts of vandalism in front of my children.” Because lying underneath that table made me realize no one ever looks under here so it’s the perfect spot for family graffiti.

photo 1 (65)

I had one of the children bring me a Sharpie, and I started writing.

It was cathartic.

It was glorious.

And the kids followed my lead! Which, let’s be honest, is good for the mama soul because God knows they never, ever follow my lead when I’m cleaning.

And so, in conclusion, and in the spirit of family togetherness and family craftiness and raising up the next generation of juvenile delinquents, I highly recommend Dining Table Graffiti.

photo 2 (73)

Is this going to teach your kids to draw on stuff they shouldn’t? Most likely.

Is this a terrible idea in general? Of course it is.

But it is FUN. And sometimes, that’s just what a family needs.

photo 4 (32)

……….

P.S. This is why I’m not on Pinterest. Because I AM SO GOOD AT THIS CRAP and all the other crafters would be jealous. You’re welcome. I abstain from Pinterest for you.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
25 comments
  1. […] always. I mean, God knows if you’re going to walk in on someone bitching or being uncharitable or laying underneath the kitchen table writing graffiti and declaring she is DONE, cannot take ANY MORE…. But meh. Come in anyway. Someone’s probably stuck on the toilet with the bathroom door open, […]

  2. That going under the table plan wouldn’t have worked to my advantage as a child, because i continually hid broccoli under the table. Although when my mom was sick of our nasty carpets, she tore them out and we drew all over the floor, it was amazing!

  3. […] My 14 year old’s mom’s work ethic. […]

  4. […] super because we’re chugging away in the middle of it all. And we’re super when we fall flat on our faces and can’t chug another […]

  5. Be it known that I actually typed in “graffiti under the table” to find this thread. We’ve had a long standing tradition of writing special moments (such as moving days, birth of pets, etc…) beneath our kitchen table as well. It’s a living history book of sorts, and I like to believe the children (and adults) generations from now will find it special.

    We also do something similar with our board game boxes (Monopoly, Yahtzee, etc…). We usually write a short blurb of who played (special guests, etc..) and perhaps something about the weather. I remember one particular chilly winter evening when we all sat down to play. In unison, we all longed for that one day back in August when the temperatures hit a sweltering 95 degrees.

    1. We do the same with puzzles: date completed and who all helped.

  6. Lovely. A word of advice though. Make sure yours isn’t the sort of table that stores extra leaves underneath or you could go to extend your table and find your daughters name written on top of your dining table….

  7. My father made my kitchen table for me 32 years ago, it still has his writing on the underside! A treasure to me because he died in 1993.

  8. I love, I love, I love!

    And I especially love that my fingers just automatically start typing the URL of this blog every morning now…..My go-to-get-the-day-started therapy. (And yes, we are just getting our day started at 11:00 am.)

    Thanks for being wonderful!

  9. […] when I quit and lay down underneath my table and do None of the Things. So I do None of the Things some of the time, […]

  10. Love this. Love the shoes, love the hat, love everything. If a mama can’t draw her unsuspecting offspring into her psychotic breaks every now & again, why live?

    Thank you for painting such a delightfully honest picture for your readers with every post. I’m your #1 fan. And remember, the family who foams at the mouth together, wears straight jackets together!

  11. Oh what a great mom you are!! My sister started a tradition on Thanksgiving possibly 20 years ago. Her nice Thanksgiving tablecloth became the canvas for sharpie hand outlines complete with names and dates. Every year, every little hand a little bigger. It grew into a surprising treasure! (And easier to look at than under the table) 🙂

  12. My favorite picture: The one where you can tell that he’s using his finger to space the words. Yes, I am a teacher. 🙂

  13. I remember when D put Sharpie zebra stripes on the legs of our table, but he sure wasn’t following his mama’s lead! Sounds like fun… And if they get too crazy there’s always Magic Eraser…truly magical I discovered after the zebra incident!

  14. First, I am impressed that you can sit under your table without sitting on food particles from meals gone by. Second, maybe in a few years I might try this with my kids. I don’t want them to know about sharpies yet. 🙂

  15. My sister and I both had wood bunkbeds growing up, and we wrote all over them. My parents still have those bunkbeds, and whenever we stay the night I spend too much time reading the old beds 🙂

    I think the underside of the table is a fantastic idea!

  16. This is so fun. My grandmother-in-law had a coffee table that she let her grandkids draw on the underside of. When she passed away, my husband got the coffee table and it’s special to have something that was such a fun part of his childhood memories at his grandma’s house.

  17. My sister did this to the underside of her bed when we were kids. No one knew until we moved and discovered “Miranda is a poop face” written all over the support slats! I’m sure on some level it was therapeutic because we get along great now and she rarely calls me anything with the word poop in it 😉

  18. There are no words for how much I loved this 🙂

  19. I bought my table as a “formerly rented” set at Rent-A-Center because I have five boys (three still at home) and I didn’t want to spend their childhood freaking out about keeping the table nice. It came with a few minor scratches already, so it was never pristine and perfect–much like us!

    Now, where did I put those Sharpies?

  20. Totally awesome! Since we bought our table at a second hand store for less than $200… yeah, doing that in maybe a few years when all members of the family can participate without also drawing on the floor and themselves with said Sharpies… 🙂

  21. Um, this made me real happy.

    If you think about it though, it could prevent graffiti on walls, furniture tops and eventually on the sides of buildings because now, they know they can come home after a hard day and take it out on the underside of the dining table. And then, you have the added bonus of being able to periodically look under and see how they really feel about you!

  22. I love this!! I always think when I read stuff like this that “those kids are going to cherish that memory”. Way to go!! Wait until they tell their children how grandma did…. 🙂

    I pray my kids have those kind of memories too. I have five as well and I don’t want them to only remember mom worrying about messes!!

  23. One word of caution on this one. Make sure you don’t have an extendable table with the spare leaves stored underneath upside down. Otherwise that graffiti doesn’t stay underneath. Yes, I learnt this the hard way…

  24. I’m totally going to pin this article in my “family time” folder. 😉

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