It has been a long while since I was two. I have no memories of that time except for what my parents claim. Watching my niece, a current two year-old, I believe it is a mercy that we don’t remember that age at all. The range of emotions that she travels in a span of 30 seconds is exhausting.
As a brave soul, I pulled out some paint and canvas to immortalize our time together. We are painting because she has zero interest in the colored pencils and she tried to eat the crayons. Her small hands clutched the brush like it was a weapon and her brush strokes confirmed that imagery. The arcs of paint through the canvas seemed like a declaration of war. The complete disregard of blending rules made it clear that she does not bend to the laws of man or nature.
She did glance at me and maintain consistent eye contact as she painted the bottom of her shoe. She spoke no words, but the air was filled with them: “Where is your God now?” “Stop me, I dare you” “Words mean nothing if I don’t understand them.”
The only time she paused was when the paint had the audacity to land on her hands or arms. There was no similar sympathy for her auntie. I was her human canvas.
I wish I could say her exuberance inspired me to let go and chill. A scene that would be at home in any Hallmark movie about a workaholic parent learning from their lovable rambunctious children. But I felt no such inspiration.
What I can say, as an exhausted adult, is that I am still trying. We are both trying to paint together, and sometimes that disharmony is okay.
Afterall, I did write this while staring at unfinished art (or was it staring at me?).