My husband can draw.
I can draw.
Therefore, our kids can draw.
It’s a handy talent. Like being able to whistle with your fingers. (Or without.) Being able to draw was especially handy back when I was a kid in school and people seemed to need stuff drawn all the time. Signs for dances, book covers, flyers for parties… That’s not as true today since you can download any image from the internet and a printer produces it for you. Still, when you play Win, Lose or Draw you have an advantage.
Two of our kids are active artists. Both have felt inspired lately and it’s a joy to watch. Interestingly, their inspiration has came from very different sources.
Alex is inspired by all things Disney. Her ability to capture the essence of each character and create unique and impactful designs is impressive. The look of her work is crisp and professional, uplifting and thoughtful. But even so, she’s after more than the look. She delivers the messages tucked inside each charater’s backstory. She’s laid in an impressive supply of materials for creating this art, from paint to pens, and from canvas to plaques. She’s a veritable happiness factory, and she does it with love and enthusiasm.
Liza’s artistic inspiration initially came from her dad. The pieces he created in high school and college – ink drawings of soldiers in combat, lithographs of fish – are scattered thoughout our home. On the lighter side, he signs almost every note he writes with a cartoon of himself. Liza wants to create, too. Like her dad. Something.
When Liza and I traveled here to Paris together, she imagined herself drinking wine in cafés with me and sitting in museums copying the works of the masters to train herself. I bought her a sketch pad to encourage this, and we planned to visit art exhibits and museums.
Today her wish came true.
We found ourselves at the Rodin Museum. There were many students sketching Rodin’s sculptures. Liza was thrilled to see this. It gave her permission to participate. She searched for a sculpture to inspire her and found it in Rodin’s Madame Fenaille. Liza stood there, flipped open her sketch pad, and began to draw.
It was remarkable.
She was exhilarated. Focused. Deeply satisfied.
So was I.
I was watching my daughter beginning to find herself as an artist. And she likes what she’s found. She’s energized.
I love seeing our children in moments like this.
I recall watching our eldest daughter, Kate, listen to 40 students talk about what they’d gained from the leadership camp they’d just attended. A camp Kate created. She was overwhelmed and humbled by the reality of the good her idea had done.
It happened, too, when our daughter Alex, discovered where she wanted to be professionally. “I’ve found where I belong, Mom.” And I knew she had.
For our son, Louis, it was when he arrived at a decision – on his own – about where he would attend college. The certainty and conviction he expressed when he announced this to his dad and I was so impressive. He had taken charge of his life. It was a moment I will never forget.
I’ve had breakthroughs in life. Moments I discovered something I felt sure of. But there is something particularly moving about watching this happen for someone you love deeply. It doesn’t matter how their story turns out in the end. Whether the choice they made sticks, or they change direction down the road. What matters is that they experience that moment of discovery. Of certainty. Of optimism and hope. The feeling that propels you forward to discover yourself and your purpose in this life.
A little wish coming true,