right: his evil fish looking through a peace sign window using it’s laser eyes to set a flower on fire
left: my flower sketch
Last night, my youngest son reminded me of a couple valuable lessons: the first is that sometimes I just need to stop, take a breath, pay attention and say yes. Second, that I need to play more.
As usual, last night was busy. We’re all so busy, aren’t we? I was running from one obligation to the next making sure each kid was fed, had all their gear and was on-time. By 8:30, I was worn out and looking forward to getting my jammies on and vegging in front of the TV. My son and I were chatting about his day as he was working on his homework and he was excitedly telling me about his world languages class and how they are focusing on French right now. He said that the teacher talked about French artists like Georges Seurat and she showed them examples of his work including “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” and they talked about pointillism and Impressionism. He looked at me excitedly and asked if we could try to draw pointillism together. As often happens, my knee-jerk reaction was to say “no, not tonight” I went on to explain that there wasn’t enough time and he needed to wrap up his homework and get ready for bed. I went about tidying up the kitchen and checking email and when I finally tuned back into him I realized that he gotten out the box of markers and was well into a little drawing. He was just finishing the flower and I thought it looked so cool and was inspired to sit down across from him and start my own little drawing. Tap, tap, tap, tap. We worked on our drawings for only 20 minutes or so but in that 20 minutes I cleared my mind, was relaxed and made a valuable connection with my child.
I’ve got several projects in the works right now and will blogging about them all very soon. One of them is a large, very precise, detailed drawing. To balance the rigidness of that I’ve been got a few experimental, playful smaller projects in the works. It’s fun and energizing. Which leads me to the second lesson that he reminded me of last night—that I need to play more. Here I am trying to do this more lately in my creative work—to explore new materials, be spontaneous and make mistakes—but yet I’m hesitant to do this in my family life. I’m guilty of getting caught up in all the obligations and gotta-get-it-dones that I miss out on opportunities. When I sat down to draw with him last night I quickly drew a sketch. I didn’t labor over what to draw or make sure it was perfect. I was excited to just start using the markers and see how the little colorful dots could form the image.
I regret that my first reaction was negative towards his idea. Here he was suggesting we do something creative together—he probably thought it would be a shoe-in but instead I shot him down. I’m so glad that he went ahead on his own. I wonder how many times I’ve squashed his enthusiasm for something…
So, he went to bed a little later last night and turns out he was no worse for wear this morning. In fact, as I sent him off to the bus stop he gave me an extra hug, kiss and “I love you.” I’d say it was time well spent.