Sibling rivalry is, of course, a reality in almost any home. In mine, however, where there are six boys – and only boys – the idea takes on an entirely different meaning. My older two boys are basketball players and painters. And another of my boys appears to be following in their footsteps. So that leaves one child sandwiched between all of this trying to find his way.
And that is not always easy.
What is he good at? What can he do? How does he shine?
I’m sure these are questions that he considers, whether consciously or subconsciously, and it’s not always easy to find answers.
So, when he came home recently with a regular piece of paper where he had done some artwork, I took notice. Our kids obviously all come home with artwork periodically. They’ve done a project at school. They doodled during math class (not that!) or they’ve created something with a friend. And sometimes I make a big deal of their work, and other times I say “That’s nice” and try to figure out how to throw it in the trash without them noticing. (Yes, I’m that mom.)
But this time, I managed to have the right Mommy headlights on at the right time. The artwork was on a simple piece of paper. It didn’t have the glory and color associated with the oil paintings my other kids do. It didn’t have the commanding size of a canvas. I could completely have missed the thunder.
But the work was beautiful in its creativity. He had drawn intricate pencil drawings of animals and then, using paper made into springs and glue, he had glued them onto a sheet of paper. So he had a 3D rendering of an animal scene.
I told him it was beautiful and that we had to save it. And then, I had an idea. I took it to a local framer and asked them to create a box frame for his 3D piece.
It just came back Friday and it’s gorgeous. And now, the kid who doesn’t have his oil paintings gracing our walls will have a framed piece of artwork of a very different type on display.
80 shekels spent on a priceless ego boost for the kid who marches to a bit of a different drum.
I don’t always hit the mark – that is for sure.
But when I do, it reminds me so vividly of how careful we have to be around our children; how we have to help each one to cultivate and find his specific talents. And then catch them in the act and celebrate when they do.
These moments can be so easily lost in the mounds of artwork, the carpools to and from activities, the homework and the bedtime routines. But it is our job to keep our eyes open and to catch them in all their glory when, and where, we can.