I’m still sick, but I’m done whining about it. Still, I’m not up to all that much in terms of writing long, well-researched, witty blog posts. I decided to go poking around in my archives, in search of something to re-post. When I did, I found something I wrote four years ago now, telling the story of how my daughter Hannah drew a picture for her father.
Hannah was not quite four years old at the time, and she was just getting into drawing. When her dad was feeling sad about giving up his rented office space, she decided to draw a picture of his office so that he could remember it.
When I look back on Hannah’s older drawings, I’m always struck by how she uses art as a means to express herself and make sense of her emotions. From the time that she started drawing, she hasn’t stopped. The girl is prolific, and she takes it seriously. Sometimes she makes several drafts of a drawing, in order to get it right. She experiments with different styles and techniques, plays with different mediums, and takes out drawing books from the library to help her learn more. She’s now a not-quite-eight-year-old kid, and she hasn’t slowed down at all. She draws when she’s happy, she draws when she’s sad. She draws pictures of herself and others. She just draws and draws and draws.Unsurprisingly, she has gotten better over time. Better than me, for sure, though that’s not saying much. I suppose that anyone who spends that much time on anything is bound to improve. When I go back over her old drawings, I see her story there. Hannah’s life and growth portrayed by her own hand, from little blobby people with stick limbs and belly buttons, to the relatively sophisticated figures of today. She seems to be going through a nature phase at the moment, drawing animals, trees and flowers. Soon enough, I know, she will shift again.
My son Jacob is almost four and a half now. While he does draw, it’s not in the same way as his sister. He likes to colour, a little bit, but he doesn’t seem to need it. He expresses himself in different ways. I know this may change, but I also know that not all children spend as much time bent over a piece of paper as my daughter does. I didn’t, for example. Neither did her father. We have other creative outlets, other hobbies that occupied us then and now. So while I do treasure Jacob’s drawings, I don’t expect that I will have the same quantity to chronicle his childhood.
It’s kind of amazing how very much our children are their own people. Hannah teaches me that every day, in so many ways. One of them is in her art – from the first pictures drawn to comfort a parent, to more advanced compositions strictly for herself, it is all about her and who she is, and not at all about anyone else.
Do your kids have gifts and hobbies that are completely separate from yours, or do they tend to follow your lead?