We have a new neighbour in our little subdivision and it’s been pretty fun for my 8 year old son to have another boy to play with. It’s hard to be a boy with two big sisters!
Wesley’s friend was fascinated by the fact that I am an artist, and when he’s over to play, often he will come check up on me and what I’m up to in the studio. I overheard him ask Wes, “What’s it like having a mum who’s an artist?” Wesley just kind of grunted; it’s not something he’s ever spent time thinking about, and he’s “guy” enough that he wouldn’t have an answer even if he had pondered it. I think my husband would answer the same way!
I’ve spent a little time thinking about what it might be like to have an artist for a parent, and I don’t think I would change a thing. Of course, my children have grown up in a home where paintings littered the art room (how many families even HAVE an art room?!), where mum stops the car to snap a reference photo, or drops down into the dirt to study the light on a fallen leaf. For all they know, every child lives under the stricture that under no circumstances should mum’s palette be touched and that sky is not merely blue, it’s cobalt. Not to mention the wealth of art supplies they have to work with for their own creative projects!
Having an artist parent is a gift for my children, whether they know it or not. They won’t suffer in a home that allows art to come before housework, and where supper is sometimes an afterthought (if I can make it in 30 minutes, it goes into permanent menu rotation). What they have been given is an opportunity to see what it looks like to pursue a dream. So many people live with secret desires that remain unspoken and locked tightly away. It is a frightening thing to chase a dream. It is so tempting to just postpone that proposal, not make the call or send the email to start the ball rolling, to enter the gallery and leave without asking for an audience (which I have done, many times).
I’m not saying I always choose rightly. My children and husband need to come first in my life, and it is not always easy to know how to prioritize so that marriage, art and family can live in harmony. But in living this artist’s life, my kids see someone who says, “I can do something great,” and then give it her best shot. That is one of many things I want for them to take into adulthood.