Watercolors by my 6-year old

Sometimes it’s not the change that throws you for a loop, it’s that you didn’t see it coming in the first place.

I can count the number of times in my life change has blindsided me. When a moment like that occurs, you are never the same and the world around shifts to find a new place.

What was black is white. What was up is down. And so on. And so on.

Most of these moments have for me been in relationships. Maybe because I have terrible intuition or because I don’t pay as close of attention as I should. Maybe because in a relationship, you can’t control the other person.

Maybe just because.

This morning my son’s teacher explained to my husband and I that our 6-year old really enjoys painting.

A rather mundane comment, right? A kid that likes to paint. Big deal.

But it was a big deal to me. Not only had I never seen my son take any interest what so ever in painting, coloring, drawing, even chalk, but whenever I asked him to do any of these tasks he would instinctively shrink away.

As it turns out, he spent a great deal of time on that painting above worrying over colors and fretting over blending. He was upset you can’t see the clouds he made. He was upset he couldn’t make the green MORE green. And he focused his attention on painting this childhood masterpiece so he could take it home to his mom.

And suddenly. Just like that. It all made sense.

This is the boy who, yes, builds robots and takes apart my DVD player and leaves strewn screws and nails all over my floor. But he’s also the boy who turned to me while we were flying across the country to show me how beautiful it was when the sunlight hit the clouds.

This is the boy that told me of how he nearly cried at school yesterday, because the music his teacher was playing was so sad and lovely.

This is the boy that holds my face and says ‘I just want to look at you, because there you are.’

And this is the boy that will now sit, focus, and paint because he has the soul of an artist. A soul I recognize in his father and only slightly in myself. But it’s there indeed, and it blindsided me.

Black is now white. Up is now down. And the world is in a new place.


  1. Beautiful. He’s so lucky to have a mom that recognizes his artist’s soul.

  2. this just makes me smile.

  3. oh, my, lovely

  4. Awesome. Nurture and encourage that! The world needs more artists. 🙂

  5. Gorgeous painting. Love this post, Erin.

  6. These are the beautiful lessons, the ones – if we are lucky, if we are paying attention – that our children teach us.

    Thank you for posting your moment and your son’s art. I hope you are going to frame that glorious painting. Both are lovely indeed.

  7. He has an eye. His soul sounds so beautiful.

  8. Damn if this didn’t just make me cry.

  9. So touching and beautiful.

  10. That was very lovely.

  11. Lovely, lovely watercolor. Given his parents, I am not surprised at all that your boy has the soul of an artist. He is destined for something wonderful. 🙂

  12. My heart skipped a beat at this: “This is the boy that holds my face and says ‘I just want to look at you, because there you are.’”

    If I ever have kids, I hope I’m this lucky.

  13. Lovely picture, lovely entry!

  14. Having a son who is very similar..this made me tear up and want to go drag him home from school today.

  15. Oh my God. I have tears in my eyes. I have never, EVER heard anything more sweet then “I just want to look at you cause there you are.” Holy crap.

    I don’t even know what else to say about that.

  16. what a beautiful boy you have there.

  17. What a beautiful post and what a beautiful painting. You have a real talent on your hands, Erin!

  18. Karen Sugarpants says:

    I love this post, sugar. Miss you already. xo

  19. A wondrous awakening.

  20. The writing did the picture justice!! Both were absolutely excellent. Encourage your young artist. My step-daughter was a fantastic artist until a teacher told her she wasn’t any good simply because the teacher didn’t like cubist works. It’s a shame as she won’t touch a brush now.

  21. That was simply lovely.

  22. So beautiful. It’s wonderful and amazing when we start to realize who are children are and how much they are capable of.

  23. annie heckenberger says:

    Everything that is great in the world is in this post.

  24. This post brought tears to my eyes and I’m not sure why. My son is 3.5 years old now, and I’m just starting to see that he is developing a side that doesn’t include me. And it is a good thing. They leave our sides and become more of themselves. That is a beautiful picture.

  25. you are all making me smile. and weepy.

  26. That’s a gorgeous painting. And it did what all good art does–it helps you look at the world differently after you experience it.

    Lovely. Keep at it, J!

    And Erin, you may have to start a gallery in your house. 🙂

  27. ‘I just want to look at you, because there you are.’

    Choked me up.

  28. This post is perfect.

  29. It is upside, being faced with the reality of…talent isn’t the word I’m looking for. Connection to the other side? I don’t know if there is a word to describe, but I have a kid like that too.

    That new place is so wonderful.

  30. Kids are magical.

  31. *sigh*


    What more can I say?

  32. Beautiful.

  33. So beautiful. The post and the painting.

  34. I agree with everybody else.


  35. What a lovely article. I wish more parents would take the time to discover the artist in their children. It really got to me when you quoted your son saying “I just want to look at you, because there you are.”

  36. Have you thought of the possibility that your boy might be hypersensitive, or that he does have Attention-deficit Disorder (ADD)?

    I’m no expert, but I have ADD myself and I recognized some aspects of both brain related ‘disorders’ (sounds more scary than it is). There are free and easy tests (lists with questions) on internet to do, you can do it by yourself or both. When you think that one or the other might apply, you can look for further help, which is available in many forms. I live in the Netherlands and I just found out that my basic health insurance covers most costs of professional help. So it’s taken seriously.
    Good luck and best wishes!

  37. Giovanni my son was evaluated for ADD and ADHD and he does not have either. But thanks for your concern.


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