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Art represents both communication and restoration for me. It helps me revel in the joy of every beautiful, blessed breath I take today. It also allows me to explore and share the hardest parts of yesterday, so that I can grieve my losses and discover the goodness that will undoubtedly come from them.

To me, art is also about relationships, about voicing the feelings and truths that might otherwise go unexpressed. I love that both my children are artistically inclined in their own ways, and I treasure the artwork they share with me; every piece is like a little window into how they feel, what they think, and who they are. Kids are complicated, always changing and questioning and becoming, and I value the glimpses of clarity their art provides.

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A few months ago I wandered on to an art site called Brave Girls Club, and the name alone was enough to win me over. It is run by a pair of sisters whose main focus is art classes that give girls and women opportunity for creative fun while encouraging some real soul-searching, honest reflection. When I saw they were hosting a three-week on-line art retreat for mothers and daughters, I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. My daughter was equally excited about the prospect of making art and memories together, so we signed up and gathered our supplies.

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Each week there are new projects with how-to videos, detailed directions, and pdf’s to print out. Last week, we made Truth Rocks. Brave Girls Club provided gorgeous little inspirational phrases, which we printed and cut out, then decoupaged on to the backs of large glass pebbles. The last step was to cover each one with polymer clay; I also stamped mine for texture and brushed on metallic mica dust to give them a little shine.

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I love the sentiments the Truth Rocks express, and there is something so special about reading them, about holding a small piece of something real and beautiful in your hand. It has been touching and more than a little revealing to discover how my daughter perceives me, what needs she senses and what strengths she values.

I appreciate this kind of focused quality time with her, and it also gives me a bit of peace to know she is carrying away something concrete to show her how I feel. An 11-year-old girl’s memory might get hazy with time, and I won’t always be around to tell her how greatly she is valued and loved; but I know the art projects we’ve made in the last few weeks will keep on echoing those important truths.

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