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Drawing with Crayons

March 24, 2013

Saturday nights used to be family nights spent at my Aunt’s house, but now it’s Sunday evenings. So at 5’oclock today, my family and I ventured up north to gather with the extended family (dogs included).

After dinner, I found a corner on the third floor where the lighting was just perfect for me to start reading a book called, “The Chosen” written by Chaim Potok. (The book is about two Jewish boys growing up in Brooklyn, NY, coming to terms with their Jewish faith, WWII, and the creation of the Israel state. By the way, I finished Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test”and it was incredible!)

Before I could even turn to the first page of the book, one of my little cousins, CN, ran up to me and said, “Tina!! When are you are going to finish your book?”

“Um, in a while.”

“I’ll give you ten minutes.”

“Ten minutes?”

“Ten minutes and then you’ll have to play with us!”

“Um, but I want to read.” (I’m sorry to say that in that moment, all I did really feel like doing was reading.)

“Ten minutes!!”

I shrugged my shoulders as she ran away. Five minutes later, she came back with a wad of paper and a box of crayons.

“I’ll draw while I wait for you to finish reading.”

And so she drew while I read. But I felt my fingers tingling while I glanced at her drawing. I was just itching for that feeling — that feeling of a crayon in my hand as I created a, uh, masterpiece.

“Can you draw a butterfly for me please?”

“Okay!!”

I put my book down and tried my best to draw the most beautiful butterfly a 6-year-old had ever seen.

“Wow!! It’s so pretty!!”

I picked another colour and drew some swirls on the wings of the butterfly.

“Oooh!! So beautiful!!”

I smiled to myself as I thought, if you’re a terrible artist, drawing with kids really boosts your self-esteem. 

Seriously. Anything you draw will look like Monet to them.

After drawing CN a butterfly, I was hooked. I asked for a piece of paper and CN said, “Of course!!”

Pretty soon, DN and QN joined us. We were all sprawled on the third floor, each of us with crayons in hand. The best part of it all was all of the French. DN and QN are both six and have been enrolled in French schools since they were four but my goodness, their french is just superb. They love it when I speak French to them.

“Où est la rouge?”

“Tina, est-que tu aime jouer avec moi?

“Tu dessine un arc en ciel!”

Drawing with the kids was just so relaxing and fun. It was therapy. It reminded me of what it was like to be young and carefree. I watched them draw and then smile (with missing teeth) at their own lovely creations. It made me think of the countless times when I’ve created something, held it out in front of my face, and smiled as I thought about how great my piece was. Call me immodest, but I’m always proud of my work — my drawings, my papers, and of course, my blog posts. And when I saw the the kids smiling at their own drawings, I suddenly had the thought that the child in us never leaves, even with age. Here was QN smiling at his drawing in the same way that I smile after posting a blog post. There was DN with his eyes furrowed as he was trying to decide which colour to use just in the same way I’ve furrowed my eyebrows trying to decide which word to use. And finally, there was CN using the same colours I was using in an attempt to copy my style just in the same way I’ve tried to copy the styles of writers I admire.

There is a child in all of us and that child stays with us until the end of our lives.

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Remember the days when you wanted to wear a bijillion things in your hair?

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My masterpiece!

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Field of Dreams by Tina Ta

Field of Dreams by me (with a flower and a swirl drawn by DN)

“Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.” -Truman Capote

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