the whole world was saved by the whitest crayon of all

Did you ever feel like a white crayon? Consider this definition from

white crayon
Someone who is utterly useless. Refers to the least-selected crayon in the box.
use it in a sentence: I don’t know how that guy ended up getting promoted, he never does ANYTHING. He’s a White Crayon.

Someone who goes by “Majestic Beauty” on even argues here that white is in fact not actually a color, and since the white crayon never gets used anyway, it is a vast “conspiracy” that the white crayon exists at all.

But I received an email from Mothers and More over the weekend, written by Tara Brettholtz, and I think it’s worth sharing. Once again, the mom is spot on the money.

My 2 year old daughter has been saying something that I have found fascinating.

In her box of crayons there is a white one that she will try to use on her blank white paper from time to time, but of course, the markings are invisible to her. She says, “Mommy, that one has no power” and hands it off to me… I’m not sure if she wants me to fix it or just complain about this injustice of having a crayon that she believes doesn’t work.

So this morning I dug through my closet until I found some dark green paper. I handed her the white crayon and said, “Here, try this.” She scribbled for a while and said, “Oh, this one has power!”

What an interesting choice of words for such a little girl… that she chose the word “power” to describe being visible and making a mark within her own tiny world. It was a great reminder for me that being invisible does not mean we do not have power. So much of the caregiving and domestic work that mothers do is, indeed, invisible, but it is not powerless. If only gaining ubiquitous visibility and recognition for our work was as easy as switching a sheet of paper.

But at least my daughter will never view white crayons as powerless again!

Tara Brettholtz
Southern Saratoga (NY)

I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, Tara, because you and your daughter are awesome.