I have always enjoyed my daughter’s artwork. The first piece I recall was an abstract one. It was done on a simple 8.5 X 11 sheet of light colored construction paper. It resembled stained glass, I suppose, with its dark lines separating the bright colors into geometric shapes. I still have it in my office, along with my son’s rock painted in similar bright colors.
The one piece of artwork I have enjoyed the most was one she painted in elementary school. It’s of my daughter and two of her friends, one of whom I still know and the other I cannot recall. It’s a simple painting. She chose to place her two friends on either side of her but also in front of her. On her shirt is a large red heart while her friends have plain tops. I know there’s a science behind children’s drawings and I know I don’t know what that science is. But I take some pleasure in thinking she cared enough about her friends to put them ahead of herself. That’s my uneducated guess.
My gift to her.
I enjoyed the painting so much that one year I had it, and one of her brother’s poems, framed for them as my Mother’s Day gifts to them. Much as any parent, I loved their artwork. The painting and poem gave me years of untold delight that I decided to gift them back to them in thanks. I think I surprised them because usually the gift-giving is the other way around on Mother’s Day.
My daughter also painted me a banner with a colorful cross on it. Like the abstract coloring, it is in my office. She also drew one for World Peace Day or something like that which was awarded a ribbon and honorable mention in our local newspaper. That one is in my cedar “memories” chest where I try to store the more precious items.
But there was one bit of artistic creativity I did not keep. And I sorely wished I had!
As she was going through her middle school years, she had asked to attend a private school. She and her brother had attended their preschool/kindergarten school which had just expanded to include middle school. And it was located near our new home I bought which meant she would continue walking to school as opposed to another located about 30 minutes away. It was also next to the public middle school so she could maintain her friendships. And…I knew from my experience as a Juvenile Probation Officer that I had no appreciation for the troubles found in this particular public middle school. I relented and, with the help of scholarships afforded to single parents, enrolled her in private school thinking I would be avoiding the behavior that sometimes accompanies preteen/teen development.
Hahaha! The best laid plans of mothers and women…I did not escape the horrors of a middle schooler. She wore street clothes under her uniform. The makeup she wore in preschool and elementary school (that’s another story) returned. It was a time of boys and secrecy. And other fun things which we all might remember from our own junior high years.
I always had the rule of bedroom doors being left open except when changing clothes or at bedtime. With boys entering the picture, I really wanted the door left open as a precaution. I didn’t want boys in her room but I didn’t necessarily want her girlfriends in there with the door closed either. Closed doors can be trouble with teenagers.
I didn’t make my discovery until after her brother moved out and she wanted his bigger room. We painted her new room (mostly, which is another story) and then I went to paint her old room to use as a guest room or if her brother wanted to visit.
Imagine my surprise when I closed her door and found bits of artwork all over the back of it.
She had never given me cause to look behind the door. It stayed open when it should. And when it was closed for bed, I didn’t need to see behind it. Say what you will but they were responsible for cleaning their rooms so I didn’t bother vacuuming them. I didn’t see anything shoved behind it. So I never looked.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the back of her door before it was painted over for the tenants now moving in.
I’m not exactly sure when she painted her door. It doesn’t matter. Oddly, I was delightfully surprised once again with her creativity.
Children will surprise you if you let them.