Sometimes words are unnecessary . . .
When our Parents As Teachers educator asked if Oscar and Edgar would like to exhibit their artwork in a local show designed to highlight the preschool participants’ efforts, we said, “Heck, yes.”
When I asked the boys if they would like to create their masterpieces with me or with Uncle Len, Oscar said, “Well, Uncle Len is the professional. So, I think we should choose him.”
Edgar seconded the motion with an exuberant, “Uncle Len! Uncle Len! Uncle Len!”
So, as I toiled the day away at work, Uncle Len taught the boys how to use watercolors. He taped a border around their work as well as their first initials, taught them how to wash the paints, and Oscar and Edgar did the rest–choosing their colors and design.
And the results are breathtaking. And they couldn’t be more proud.
Thanks, Uncle Len. One day we’ll all be able to say, “We knew them when . . .”
Last month we decided to join our local children’s museum and chose the package that allowed us free admission into select children’s museums all over the country–a reciprocal arrangement that certainly encourages us to explore other necks of the woods. Yesterday we made the trek to Easton, Massachusetts, and spent nearly four hours in a converted firehouse that now attracts scores of children and their families daily. Just moments before we left, the boys discovered the face-painting area and got promptly to work. They knew, of course, that we would be going to a fancy restaurant that “did not serve macaroni and cheese” for dinner to celebrate Uncle Mike’s birthday. But I think that made them primp all the more. When I asked them if they wanted to clean it off before dinner, I knew the answer before I even finished my question. So, yes, we walked into a fairly upscale dining establishment as such–and it just reminded me of what should be so perfectly whimsical and un-self-conscious about childhood and, perhaps, even occasionally, adulthood. Here’s to expressing individuality and to encouraging others to do the same!
When we learned that several of Uncle Len’s watercolors were on display (and one was receiving an Honorable Mention) at the Jamestown Town Hall, we couldn’t stay away. Oscar and Edgar donned ties (left over from their first Christmases and their Adoption Days when they were clearly much smaller), and we all made a beeline for the opening reception. Oscar even thought the occasion warranted a belt and his own personal arrangement of his hair. We arrived and proved quite the distraction among the gathering of sophisticated adults as the boys discovered the elegant fruit tray put out for the event. Oscar aimed to maintain his gentlemanly image by lightly impaling cantaloupe with toothpicks (though he liked to tease that–despite our admonitions–he was scooping up the pieces with his hands when we weren’t looking); while Edgar made mini-barbells with toothpicks and a grape on each end. They were both so excited to congratulate their Uncle Len, enter our local arts scene, and to partake of the fruity offerings–with or without the toothpicks. Congratulations, Len, on the recognition of your beautiful work and for letting us be part of your celebration!
Although that prognosticating rodent who shall remain nameless has predicted six more weeks of winter (hope we’re down to just four more weeks by now), Oscar, Edgar, and I ventured out into the backyard this week to begin our “spring cleaning.” We raked and/or jumped in leaves, gathered and/or gesticulated with sticks, and dreamed of warmer temperatures. And though we found a few chunks of ice and the occasional remaining patch of snow, there was a little something–call it a certain slant of light (thanks, as always, Emily Dickinson) or a different charge in the air–that turned this chilly bunch into anticipating optimists eager to emerge from our hibernation and make our mark outside–hopefully without puffy jackets and mittens–soon enough!
Auntie Christina is a generous soul–in spirit, in laughter, and in love. And she is equally generous in gifts, always thinking of and selecting just the right item for Oscar and Edgar. However, she also thinks (and, okay, I suppose) she is very funny–a diabolical combination–which is why when Edgar opened up finger paints from her this Christmas, she had herself a very good chuckle. She knew that Edgar, being the tactile boy that he is, would adore her choice. Yet she also knew that Edgar’s mother–that would be me–would groan (not audibly, I promise) at the prospect. It’s not that I necessarily mind a mess (we make plenty of them throughout the course of the day); and I truly hope, for my children’s sake, that my adherence to order doesn’t translate to an avoidance of messy childhood fun. I believe any mess we make or disorder we create can be rectified by the end of the day with the help of the washing machine, bathtub, vacuum, and/or mop. And I want the boys to make the messes they should, the messes that lead to learning and fun and memories.
But, oh, finger paints. I’m not sure what it is, but there is something about finger paints. Messy hands. Smeared paint on the table, chair, and floor. Clothes and faces covered with (admittedly washable) splatters. Very wet artwork that is created quickly and must be hung or laid out to dry in a very limited space.
Yet credit must be given where it is due! Hats off to Auntie Christina for getting right in there with Edgar for the whole experience. It was joyful and silly and wonderful to watch.
And luckily you had Oscar and me to clean up as you went along–which we were happy to do!
Thanks, Auntie! You always know how to make us smile!