My “adulting” by way of coloring

As a father, I’m always looking for ways that I can turn daily chores into something more…a moment that my kids and I can share while still meeting the demands of my daily agenda and allowing them to have that freedom of childhood that they’ll cherish forever.

A few months ago, coloring books reappeared out of nowhere, and I’m not referring to the flimsy kids versions that we pick up for $1 in the discount bin. These are legit, bound books using incredible paper stock and intricate outlines!

Who would’ve thought that adult coloring books might push their way into the zeitgeist to the forefront of therapy — becoming a best-selling tool that allows us to express and exhaust our innermost emotions without forfeiting a co-pay at the front desk?

Last week, I found myself asking my 7-year-old daughter, Ava, if she’d like to sit down and color together and perhaps talk about school, her life, etc.

Clearly, this became awkward, as I sat down at the end of our dining room table, with her doing the same…

…but at the other end, 10 feet away.

This wasn’t the "special time" that I had in mind. However, I made the effort to be sensitive to the moment. Maybe she was just having a rough day in 1st grade or going through a phase and didn’t want to be anywhere near a person of authority, especially her dad.

She laid out her crayons in rainbow fashion and instead of feeling left out, I decided to join the (other end) of the party, by doing some coloring of my own…

…with a Clorox 2® Pre-Treat Stain Remover Pen, coloring on my own palette — old baby clothes that I was trying to remedy for the upcoming "end of spring" yard sale.

It may not be exactly how I envisioned us spending the afternoon, but we managed to share a conversation about what it’s like at school, why she loves art and music class so much and why exactly, I was coloring clothing in invisible ink for fun.

While it’s still tough to wrap my head around, I have to understand that she’s not a baby anymore. She may not always want to hang out with me. And even if it’s 15 feet away, at least it’s at the same table, in the same room.

Maybe when the yard sale finally makes its way around, I can be the one working the lemonade stand and she can haggle with the grown folk that come out at 5:30 a.m. in their pajamas for a great deal on some those recently refreshed onesies that she once wore while we rolled around together — sharing memories that I’ll never forget.

DadorAlive is a paid contributor to Clorox’s SpinCycle, helping you navigate the messiness of parenthood.