The Brown Crayon

We have all wanted that large box of crayons. You know the one I’m talking about! You have a silly grin on your face just thinking about that totally cool crayon sharpener in the back of the box. You begged your mom to get you that box even though the supply list only called for the 24 pack.

While I would love to reminisce about all of the neat and simplistic things that we thought were so neat, you know like the pens and erasers you traded, I won’t do it as I tend to get off topic really easily.

So, back to the box of crayons. No matter how large or small the box, there is a brown crayon in every one of them. Who cares – right? There is a red, blue, black, green, yellow, purple and white crayon in there too. Yes indeed there is, but no crayon bears such a connotation like the brown crayon. Drab, boring, lacking beauty, muddy, dull, and blah have been used to describe brown crayons. Nobody ever picks the brown crayon first.

Why is this relevant?

Well you see, I feel I have slipped into the wrapper of a brown crayon. Argh! As my daughters were finishing their strawberries last night, they were laughing and being silly. Without thinking, I quickly said, “Stop laughing and finish.” Why is that? Why don’t I enjoy the laughter and giggles. That should be the best sound of the day for me. Instead I focus on the next task and what is left to accomplish for the night. Is there such a thing as being too focused and structured? Clearly…yes! This is just one minute example of my daily brown crayon actions. I know what I must do, I must strive to get out of that slim, little, brown wrapper and dress myself in yellow. There is no time like the present to color my world and enjoy life! Perhaps I might even improve so much that I could be the awesome sharpener in the back!


23 thoughts on “The Brown Crayon

  1. Lisa says:

    Good analogy! My friend always says she can’t do art. She says that when she was a kid she would start to paint with all the colours but just didn’t know when to stop, so all her art turned into brown. Maybe you are brown now because all your other colours are mixed up!

    1. I love your connection to the color brown. You may have a point. Maybe the colors represent all different roles I play and things that must get done and when there are too many, it ends up brown! The brown can be my stress and inability to focus on the important things – like yellow! 🙂 Thanks for making me think and look at things from another perspective!

  2. Oh my, I love this metaphor (analogy? whatever.) of you and the brown crayon! I will always, always have those words in my head now. “Stop being a brown crayon, Dana.” I. love. it.
    This is a great example of finding a Slice in your day. Writing about one moment of your day. Perfect, Angela! I’m so glad you decided to join us!! How very un-brown-crayon of you!

  3. I thought you said you can’t write! This is a beautiful piece of self-reflection on being “that” parent. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. It’s not an easy task being a working parent. Just keep that image of the yellow crayon in the back of your mind at all times.

  4. Whoa! I love this!!! I was riveted on where you were leading us in the explanation of the brown crayon. I was like, what does she know about brown crayons that I don’t know? So smart! I love this metaphor for sucking the fun out of things. Crayons are fun, but not brown ones. Such a great parenting piece. Welcome to the slice world!

  5. When I first chose to read this piece, I was wondering what would make someone write about a brown crayon (and that was only based on the title.) After reading it, I am blown away. Your piece made me think if I was behaving in a “brown” crayon way. Go for all the colors of the rainbow, and know that your writing opened my eyes to other colors.

  6. I loved how you used a very simple, child-like item (that everyone can relate to) and used it as parenting advice. Thank you – tonight I will try not to be the brown crayon!

  7. Oh that sharpener. How I LOVED that sharpener as a kid. This piece is really great Angela! I love the comparison and I am totally a brown crayon more often then I would like to be. Great slice!

  8. I love this Slice! How I feel like the Brown Crayon sometimes at home and at school. Thanks for the reminder that laughter is okay and that it doesn’t always have to happen “my” way.

  9. What an awesome piece! I think every parent can relate. I noticed myself very focused on the tasks that need to be done and snapping at Audrey for doing things. Now I’m going to think about being the yellow crayon! Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Loved the analogy as well! I’ve been that brown crayon when my girls have been the bright giggly yellows. Thanks for the reminder to stop be so brown!

    On a side note, have you read the book titled “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt? It’s a superb book and the crayons are talking about their likes and dislikes about who they are! I think you would find it quite funny!

  11. […] Mornings at the Murphy house can be hectic.  My husband leaves long before the sun rises, so it is just me and the girls.  We have to rise and dress and comb and eat and find and zip and bundle.  Of course, I have our routine set, down to the minute.  Don’t worry, there is still room for fun.  (I’m not a brown crayon.) […]

  12. Angela, I enjoyed reading this and I can so relate! Sometimes you’re so focused on getting things done or getting to the point that it really does suck the life out of everything. And then you’re done, but you didn’t enjoy it…and what’s the point of that! Your piece gave me lots to think about, and maybe an idea for my next post!

  13. “Perhaps I might even improve so much that I could be the awesome sharpener in the back” …. brilliant! I read this yesterday and it stuck with me. Hit home hard! About to blog about it today. Thanks for sharing – and opening my eyes as well!

  14. This is such a great analogy. Love this!

    Let me tell you the only time I’ve ever gotten excited about brown crayons. It’s when I’ve bought people color crayons as a classroom teacher. That’s the only way to make those brown ones exciting!

  15. I love this! You’ve influenced not only my writing but something that happened to me last night. I sliced about it today. I always ask myself that Why? Why can’t I just relax and live in that moment? Why am I rushing? I’m totally going to try and be the yellow crayon more often. At least green or blue. Thanks for sharing.

  16. […] miss my babies, but I love my job. I am so happy that I took time today to stop being the brown crayon and to cherish the moment with my perfectly round baby and my not quite 2, perfect little […]

  17. This is such a lovely slice. I too slip into the wrapper and take life all too seriously too often. Thanks for the reminder, it was needed as I sit up in bed on a Sunday morning with school books around me. It’s Sunday for goodness sake!! It’s a yellow day.

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