When You’re Tempted to Buy Your Own Kid’s Press

She hangs her heart on the wall while a steady stream of people walk by.

“Did you draw this?” They ask the small girl perched in the corner, the one who can’t stop drawing for a second, not even tonight when her art’s on public display.

“Yes,” she says shyly, smiling under the rim of that black hat.

“Wow,” they say again and again, bedazzled like the peace sign covering her head.

And again with a timid smile she responds humbly,”Thank you.”

Rainey @ Art Show

Rainey @ Art Show

I stand at a safe distance, close enough to hear these conversations but far enough to allow her some space, some breathing room in a room crowded with artists, buyers, and friends.

Others ask, “are these for sale?” and she looks over at me, eyes dancing in my direction, and I mouth the words we talked about, the ones her dad and I agreed on at the last minute, and she replies, “No, they’re just for show.”

I sense the disappointment in her voice, even though I can barely hear it above the clamor of the studio. She wants to sell some of her art, so people can enjoy it, she tells me, so she can donate the proceeds to school children in Haiti. And I understand her ambition. I appreciate her motives.

But after an hour at this place, I’m unwavered. I’m happily standing my ground.

Because art buyers have stopped by and they’ve handed me their cards. They’ve told me to call them, to set up meetings at their galleries. Prominent artists talk business with her dad and me, offering advice on what to sell and for how much, calling her a “commodity” who’s painting us “gold bricks.” And it leaves us stunned, overwhelmed, our heads spinning.

Rainey @ Art Show

Rainey @ Art Show

Even after the show, after we’ve packed up the car, stopped at Dairy Queen, and driven the fifty miles home, after we’ve congratulated her a hundred times and tucked her in bed, we’re still dizzy. Our eyes close, but we can’t sleep.

The next day we get online, we search for art schools in the city, the ones we’re told she needs to attend, the ones with a seven percent acceptance rate, and I reconsider selling her art to pay the tuition. I’m caught up in the hype, in the hussle to groom her and get ahead of the competition.

Less than a week ago we were frantically scanning the walls, surveying sketchbooks, and searching drawers, desks, and refrigerator doors to find her very best pieces, the kitchen table disappearing under a pile of canvases and cut-outs. Miles and money racked up as we traveled to various craft stores buying frames and matting, foam board and glue spots, easels and cardstock.

Rainey's Art

Rainey's ArtRainey's Art

I called my mom the day before the exhibition, anxious, jittery, a hairy ball of stress.

“I don’t know why I’m such a basket case,” I tried explaining to her. “It’s Rainey’s show, and she’s fine. I’m the one who’s a mess.”

“Do you think it’s because she’s growing up?” my mom asked calmly. “Because her dreams are coming true?”

And I knew she was on to something, I knew she had a point. Becoming an artist is all my daughter’s ever talked about, all she’s ever wanted since she first drew that picture of a one-eared pig when she was two. And her dreams are fragile, like her, and worth protecting. But there was more to it than that.

I close the laptop now, and think about this a dozen more times – at the grocery store, during dinner, while decorating the house for Christmas the night after the show. And when I tuck myself in bed, when I prop up my pillows and open my Advent devotions, I’m relieved to see a mother who can relate.

Her name is Mary, and the baby she’s expecting is Pretty Important, too. He’s got big plans, big dreams, dreams that will one day save the world. But what does Mary do about it? Does she freak out like me? Does she call the papers and line up the interviews, maybe billboard His big debut?

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19

And when He’s a little bit older, only a couple years past my daughter’s age, when He, too, wows the crowd and amazes everyone at the Temple, her response is the same:

But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.  – Luke 2:51

And slowly, like a work of art hanging in a gallery, the big picture comes into view, bringing with it the peace and perspective stolen from me the past few days.

I remember that my children belong to Him. And they’re not here to impress people, to prove they’re important, or to promote themselves. They’re not here even to be relevant or successful by the world’s standards. They’re here to please Him.

And somehow knowing this brings me tremendous freedom. Freedom to treasure the amazing experience we shared Friday night with our daughter, to ponder who she is and all she hopes to be. And to pray that His dreams for all of our children will someday come true.

“Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillent of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing.” – Oswald Chambers

Comments

  1. Patricia Hagerty says:

    Her mother needs to make her writing available to other mothers to read. How can I help with that? Do you have a blog that I can post for people in my circles? God has totally blessed you with words for godly mothering. Real people need to see how they can be used when they apply biblical stories to their own lives. You make me excited and MY kids are all grown. Please let me know how I can help with your pieces.

    • Thank you, Pat, for your encouragement. My blog is available to anyone with a computer and Internet connection! It’s all public (yikes!) and all are welcome here. Feel free to share the link with folks you think might enjoy our stories (raineydays.org). And as for facebook, whenever I post a link to this blog there, you can always “share” it with your friends that way, too. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness!

  2. Kaila Lindsay says:

    Megan, the portrait in the lower right hand corner of that first multi-art shot is amazing! Rainey is very talented! I’m so glad to hear the show went so well, and we were sorry to have missed it. She’ll be glad to have all of these early examples of her art work when she opens a gallery someday 🙂

  3. Meg, She gets her artistic talent from her Mom — the way your words etch the picture of life is just amazing to me. YOu need to take all of these posts and put them in a book. Rainey definately has a gift! Praying for wisdom!!

  4. yes yes yes, this was wonderful to read

  5. ant rosie says:

    Mol, I am again stunned by and moved by this blog. you really do need to share the beauty and wisdom of your words with a larger audience. Rainey has such talent! I was so happy to be able to see it, at least here. The muted self-portrait that Kaila also commented on is just incredible! It looks exactly like her and such unique style. What a wonderful gift she has. As do you. Love to you both.

    • AR, if you come to visit, you can see it all over our walls. (Just between you and me, I didn’t want to sell any of her work because if I did, I’d have to redecorate the house.) Love to you, too!

  6. Robin Petrus says:

    I so enjoyed reading about Rainey’s show and your reflections. She is talented – I’d like to see her art in person some day! And so true that we must be cautious not to be caught up in “impressing” people for our own benefit but pursue the path we are called to by our creator.

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