Look What I Bought
Grandma painted a picture of me when I was four years old. She’s always been more of a landscape artist but her portraits -- when she does them -- are in great demand. The painting hangs over the fireplace in our family room. Grandma says often that it’s her favourite.
It has six images of myself on a muted background that changes from a child’s playroom on the left of the canvas, through a playground and bedroom in the middle, to a work environment on the right. The first image on the left is me as a baby playing on the carpet. The picture blurs into a four-year-old with a camera which moves into a ten-year-old swinging on a playground swing. The next image shows a teenager in a prom dress. This fades into a young woman with a camera around her neck, looking out the window of an office. The last image shows a woman with long, red hair carrying a big, black bag facing to the right. She’s heading off to the edge of the canvas, almost as if she’s moving towards her unknown future.
Many people have commented on Grandma’s ability to see what I would become -- I was four when it was painted. Grandma says it was more her wish for a happy life for me. It was her dream for me -- in paint -- a dream she hoped would come true.
I guess it’s a good omen that the background doesn’t have a beautiful scene of a tropical island.
Rebecca did nothing but complain while we were sewing. What is the problem with her? She acts like she’s the only one with a bug up her ass. (And I do mean bugs and it’s not the ass that they are crawling up -- but I won’t get into that.) She spent 20 minutes (20 MINUTES!) complaining about the weather. It’s too hot. It’s too windy. It’s too sunny. Why doesn’t it rain? Then she moved on. Her sunburn hurts. Her hair is dirty. She has a rash. She hasn’t had a bowel movement in nine days. (That’s a tad more information than I needed to know!) Her skin is itchy. She wants to go home. She even had the nerve to complain about my cooking. I am offended. She also criticized my carrying thread and needles in my backpack. Wait until she needs a tampon!
Molly was restless tonight. I think another tooth is coming in. I had to sing to her before she would go to sleep. She actually liked my singing. Sweet little girl.
That’s one thing I wish I could do. Sing. I’m not very good. I can carry a tune but that’s about it. Shelley had a beautiful voice. She sang in the school and church choirs. The range of her voice was incredible; it was powerful in its intensity, pulling the listener into the song. The weird thing was that she didn’t really like to sing. She was too shy to enjoy singing in front of people. She did it because she was asked; she hated to disappoint anyone. She would rather have been able to run track. She said she would have traded her voice for the legs and stamina to run a marathon.
Are people ever satisfied with who they are? I’d like to think I am but if I’m really honest with myself -- maybe not. I’ve come to terms with the birthmark on my face and the majority of the time I don’t think about it -- especially when I’m not around mirrors. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t -- in a second -- have it gone from my face if I could.
It has taught me a lot about people, which is a good thing -- so that’s a plus. It’s also taught me about myself and my willingness to treat people fairly regardless of appearance, occupation, background, faith or any other category that tends to divide humans into neat little groups. I accept people for who and what they are without judgment on their lifestyle in any way. Even in this day and age, people can be very closed-minded. I try very hard not to be. I pride myself on that. So maybe I’m good just the way I am.
I still wish I could sing, though.
I think life is made up of moments. The mundane tasks of everyday life like grocery shopping, showering and housecleaning are swallowed up and melted together into a hazy memory. It’s the moments, whether good or bad, that stand out, that when pieced together one after the other, make up our existence. Sometimes, when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I think that maybe the bad moments of my life have been more frequent than the good moments. Or do bad memories only stand out more?
Whether it was the first time (and every other time after) I was called scar face, meeting Shelley, or accepting the Pulitzer, my life has been full of moments -- learning experiences as Grandma calls them. If I’m honest with myself, the good far outnumber the bad. I’m truly blessed.
Maybe moments should have a capital ‘M.’ Moments. That’s better.
Me? Canadian, writer, RN, crafter, Girl Guide Leader, Red Hatter, 3-dog owner, photographer, geocacher, cool Mom, and all around FUN and FUNNY person!
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