Disclaimer: I do have a daughter, of whom I’m extraordinarily proud of. She’s talented with words and images, and funny, and smart, and oh-my-gosh-beautiful. But I’m a slow thinker, so I’m still mulling over things that were said last weekend, and things I discovered about my life through that talk, so this is post number two regarding my son.
Last weekend started me thinking. As I told you, son and I spent time talking about the book etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. He said something that made me realize how long–how incredibly long–I have been working on giving birth to Hedi Peacock.
My sweet heaven. Now that I consider it, it’s got to be the longest gestation period known to mankind. She’s been in the shadows of everything I’ve done for years.
Case in point.
Dearest son was a prodigious liar when he was a wee tot. It worried me. I looked at his sweet angelic three year old face and imagined that I could read I-N-C-A-R-C-E-R-A-T-I-O-N written in a wispy thread of smoke over his head.
But around the age of 3.5, my son threw a ball, and made a hole in the drywall. A fairly largish hole. And instead of fibbing, he came downstairs and asked me to come to his room. And then, with trembling hand, he pointed to the dent in the wall.
God knows what he’d thrown. Probably a golf ball. It had chewed right through the wallboard. BUT…he’d stood there, and he had told me the truth. Even if he couldn’t find the words. He’d pointed to it and said, “I’m sorry.”
Hallelujah. My kid had told the truth. Now, there were probably many smart ways–or at least cleverer ones–of dealing with that. But me? I thought, “Seize the Day! I won’t be visiting him in a federal prison!” So, I smiled at him and said, “It’s not a big deal. It’s okay, you made a hole in the wall. You didn’t mean to.”
He looked at me doubtfully, possibly thinking that his father would inevitably be called into wall repair. And perhaps, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I looked at that hole and thought of my husband’s never-ending job-list (he’s a guy who can and will fix anything), and decided, “Crap, it would be easier to hide it. ” So I grabbed a pencil, and said, “You know what? It looks just like a knothole in an old apple tree.” And then I drew a knot hole around the defect, and then because that looked odd, I drew a twisted tree, and then because that looked even stranger, I drew a few bushes at the base of that tree….
Yup. I’m a helluva of a role model.
Six months later, I finally finished the subsequent mural, painted with craft paint and 1/2 inch brushes. My son had requested items as it grew, and by the end, it covered every square inch of visible wall space in that bedroom. You know what I painted? Old twisted trees. Flowers. A pack of five wolves running through a field. Vines–of the morning glory variety–twining their way up the trunk of a tree. A fairy pond (complete with two fairies fluttering over it). A sunrise on one wall, and a moonfall and stars on the opposite. Grinning bears. Wise woodchucks. Snoozing coyotes.
I never took pictures of the entire canvas. It was his room and I never objectified it as mine. One day, though, he came to me and said, “Mummy, I’m too old for my walls.” So that weekend, he and I painted over it. I took pictures of him manning the roller–thus by default, there are at least 2 walls captured in those pictures.
It took a bit to unearth them today, but I found the snapshots of the day when my son took a step from babyhood to boyhood. Now, I realize that what I’m looking at is the beginning of Hedi’s world, seen through Disney.
By the way. That son? He’s not a fibber-wibber any more. He’s grown into an honourable man, and his word is good.