Wednesday, October 08, 2003

the things we do for love

One of my greatest inabilities is my lack of drawing skills. Ditto for Nikki. We'd rather paint in words, but sometimes that's not an option.

Last night, Nikki and I sat down with Sage, a bunch of paper and a lot of crayons for a session of drawing.

“Puppy,” Sage told me sternly.

So I expelled a sigh of despair and did my best to draw a little dog. Of course, what came out looked nothing like a puppy (unless you tilt it to the left, squint a bit and be very very generous).

Sage looked at my drawing then looked at me.

“Look, Sage,” I said, pointing to the distorted thing. “Where’s the puppy?”

And she looked around and said “No more na.”

In the meantime, Nikki had better luck with her stunning rendition of a spotted cow (identifiable because my clever wife added a pair of horns and spots) and a seal (which is a form of cheating, because if there is one thing in the world my wife can draw, it’s a cutie seal). Sage happily began to color them in.

Not to be outdone, I whipped out a duck (complete with blue water), a cat and a “bear” (which looked like a pig even to myself) - all the while making appropriate animal noises.

Nikki responded with an octopus and a horse head (and what sound does an octopus make?).

Royally trounced in what had become an unspoken competition (and Nikki is one of the people who can beat me at things), I pulled out all stops and sketched Sage. Of course, the figure looked really inhuman (but somehow interesting in a Sunny Baudelaire way) because I could not resist throwing in fangs.

“That’s not Sage,” Nikki said unkindly.

“Yucky,” Sage commented, before taking the drawing and flipping it facedown on the floor.

Crushed, I added lips to Nikki’s cow and tried to impress the little girl by drawing with two crayons at the same time. Nikki laughed and patted my head as we drew more and more, reveling in our utter artlessness.

Sage watched us both, picking up each drawing as it was finished and laughing at her absurd parents who created a menagerie better suited to the Cthulhu mythos than for a 20-month old toddler.

That’s what love can do, I guess. For one little girl, two parents will plumb the deepest recesses (or the sad shallows) of creativity – just to show her that life is good and art is fun.

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