There was an artist at my church—painting as the band played music. I was captivated by her movements, watching her brush strokes define the abstract.

Suddenly, a little boy of two or three emerged from the audience and made a beeline for the stage. He was holding a paintbrush. The artist, though startled, leaned down, whispered a few words and then scooped him up into her lap. The child began painting with his brush—short, green lines. I watched him meticulously lead the brush back and forth as the artist whispered in his ear.

Tears sprang to my eyes as I realized they were mother and son. I have held my son like this. Snuggled him, smelling his hair and reveling in our closeness.

Today, my 12-year-old man/child doesn’t want to sit on my lap. In fact, when he does, it’s not very comfortable. Angular and tall, he absolutely doesn’t fit. When I try to bring back those sweet moments of Andrew sitting on my lap, it’s just not the same. Instead, I hug him every chance I get. Even when he squirms, embarrassed by my show of affection, I still go for it.

I may not hold Andrew in my lap anymore, like the artist and her son, but I do hold him in my heart. And, while I’m not a painter, I am an artist in my son’s life. I help him with brush strokes, guiding his activities, helping him process emotions and giving him daily direction.

With every activity and every discovery this “art” takes on new dimensions. Every day we brush a new line on his canvas. This masterpiece will never be finished, not even when he’s grown.  There will still be words of wisdom to share and cherished moments to enjoy. There will also be times I have to sit back, without critique, and watch him paint his own picture.

As the last song came to an end, the artist put down her brush and held the boy’s hand as they rejoined the audience. Their bond was not defined by the painting—the finished product. It was the experience of being together, creating and having fun.

I still have these moments with my son. Things aren’t the same as they were when he was a toddler, but moments and memories still happen every day. I just have to pick up the brush and start painting.


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