All The Paint We Can

My little one requested a “paint party” to celebrate her sixth birthday.  They have an instructor that guides you through how to paint, which brush to use, mixing the colors, etc.  You can select different images and my little one chose a sea turtle.  I was thrilled because my mother adored turtles and in Native American culture it is the symbol for long life.  Growing up my father was a painter and I used have to explain he was not an artist painter; rather he painted houses inside and out as well as huge buildings.  I used to come to work with him as a kid and I loved it.  My father, who has walked on, and my only child share the same birthday.  I know how very happy that would have made him.  And so I thought it was fitting that turtles and paint were involved; my child was unwittingly carrying on with what my parents both loved.  Almost her entire class showed up and I liked that the boys were just as into it as the girls.  I truly think everyone had fun and beforehand I was admonished not to help her; that she wanted to do it herself.  I must confess I have never been a fan of modern art.  I believe I have said here more than once I find it to be soulless and just plain weird.  Her painting came out looking like something that belonged in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  It did not resemble a sea turtle in any conceivable shape, form, or fashion.  The best I can say is there was a pretty dark blue and green on the canvas.  My little one stubbornly proclaimed her turtle was camouflaged.  Now THAT I could believe.  Striving for something positive yet truthful to say I told her, “Well, you did a GREAT job!”  She looked up at me with various colored smudges of paint on her little arms and beamed.  I felt guilty; hers was the worst one there — possibly ever.  So I elaborated with, “You know that’s actually quite smart, as most animals — particularly in the ocean — camouflage themselves both to avoid other predators as well as to be able to eat themselves.”  The American actor Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can at it.”  I love that.  I want to view my life in this way, and it is my wish that my husband and little one will, too.  And we are going to use all the paint we can.

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