Trite as it sounds, sometimes as a parent you have to make hard decisions. Husband and I had to make one of those last week. Flower Child’s school has an annual overnight camping trip. After much discussion, asking questions about the plans for trip, student teacher ratio, and watching how she’s been doing and feeling, we felt we had to say no. It was the right decision, but it sucked to come to it anyway. I got a phone call from one of her teachers after the decision was made, one I don’t speak with regularly. He asked if there was any information he could offer to help us to feel better about the trip, etc. I absolutely believe he was coming from a good place, but it sure made that voice in my head–the one that whispers about how unfair things can be–a whole lot louder.
Yesterday I planned to go to the craft store with Flower Child so she could pick out a small pad of sketch paper. Hopefully we’re going to get to the park today so she can find a tree she likes and sketch it. The pad she had at home is too large and heavy for her to carry or manipulate in the middle of the park. She has always loved art. She loves to draw, and has been doing a lot of it recently. Since getting the iPad for schoolwork, it seems like she has enough energy and strength left at the end of the day to put more into it and enjoy it. Watching her have fun and progress with this is a particular pleasure I can’t put into words.
When we left the apartment, we saw there was a nearby street fair, first of the season for us. No reason we were in a hurry, so we walked the fair for a bit. Most of the fairs run for about 10 blocks.
Really, there’s only three blocks worth of booths. Two blocks of wares that keep repeating, and every so often something different thrown in. Still, on a nice day, and before you’ve had 5 straight weekends of traffic being messed up from them, it’s a nice thing to do. We went past a booth of inexpensive art prints, Flower Child spent some time looking at the Van Goghs (she loves his work). As I looked at the Starry Night print, I thought of how much Flower Child would enjoy being somewhere she could see the stars at night. Cuppa guilt, anyone? I splurged on a couple of arepas (delicious for about 45 seconds, after you’ve burned your mouth on the first few bits but before you’re eating cold sweet corn grease) and went on to the craft store after strolling for four blocks.
The craft store was having a sale on sketch books. Score! Got two small sketch pads and a pad of tan paper so she can figure out how to use her white pastels. Then we were just looking at the different art materials. They had Bob Ross kits. At this point, she isn’t into painting, but I was telling her about him when a man walked by and we ended up chatting about art. He turned out to be an art teacher, made a couple of recommendations for paper for Flower Child, I added a large pad of newsprint paper to our pile. Who needs groceries? I took his contact info. Nice guy, maybe we can figure out a way to get her lessons.
We were out for a little under two hours, and I was feeling great. A beautiful sunny day, relaxing, no pressure-no rush strolling, got Flower Child what she wanted plus some, a nice New York moment in the craft store. When we got to our corner, I told her we had to take the dogs out for a quick walk. “Right now? Can we rest for five minutes first?” Pop goes my bubble. She was out of energy, literally exhausted from the couple of hours out and walking around. Oh yeah, this was why the plan was to buy the sketch pad one day, and go to the park the next. And this was why saying no to the trip was the right call, much as we wish it was different.