If I should have a daughter, the word mom will mean more than just a title to her because when that word pops into her head she will think of her mother, her teacher, her support, and together we will sculpt our block of stone into the life we aspire to live.
I want her to embrace her Irish roots, so I will name her Cara after the Celtic word for ‘friend’. She will be a friend to all and love everyone and everything, and her name will remind her to always care for life and admire all its artistry.
I'm going to teach her to be like a tree; to transform the bad into good, and always give back to the world. She’ll grow gracefully but surely and as she ages, she’ll gather wisdom and experience from the world. She's going to learn that life is never constant and is always changing, but I’ll make sure that she always embraces the change with open arms; I'll tell her, “leaves are always going to grow and fall from your branches, but with each leaf lost, a new one will always sprout”. It’s no wonder that many great artists are so inspired by nature, as it holds an array of beauty, growth, and regeneration.
And every morning I’ll remind her, “Cara, don’t forget to laugh and smile today, because it’s never hard to smile at someone who is already smiling”. And when the day comes to an end, every night before bed just like my father, I’ll read her ‘The Giving Tree’. And once she can recite it word for word, we’ll read it together so that when she has children of her own, she can pass on the memories from her childhood and create tradition.
I’ll teach her that sometimes you need to take time to do absolutely nothing. When you feel those crashing waves of anxiety engulfing your body, clear your mind and be as calm as the glossy surface of a lake. “You are a still life - and like Van Gogh's sunflowers, take time and stillness to experience tranquillity and life in its purest form”.
“If you ever feel different and set apart from the crowd, embrace it and admire your uniqueness, and remember that no two brush strokes are exactly alike. The path to greatness is littered with rejections and ridicules, but I will be your walking stick; reassuring you whenever you feel weary”.
I'll tell her, “Identity can be easily misplaced in this fastpaced world of crushing expectations, so never forget who you are”. I'm going to teach her that there are times and places when she needs to be a formalist and follow every rule, but there are also times for freeform, where she can create her own.
When she turns to me in her times of fear and confusion, I’ll be there to reassure her and say “don’t be afraid, something you’re scared of or think is weird may just be something familiar viewed from a different angle”. She will learn that a change in perspective has the potential to reveal things that weren’t visible to the eyes before.
I’ll teach her to communicate through art; the universal language of neither words nor limits. Through abstract to express emotions and reactions, surrealism to illustrate the creative potential of the mind, and realism to capture life as it really is.
“And like the pointillism in the Island of La Grande Jatte, never forget to take in and admire every small detail of the big picture. You’ll see that the ordinary becomes extraordinary when taken in and experienced”. But I’ll also remind her to step back from her canvas every once in a while in order to see everything as a whole instead of obsessing over the minuscule details.
And when she comes to me with her palate completely covered with paint and no room for any more, we’ll wipe the slate clean and start fresh, because I'll teach her that when things seem to turn bland and unenjoyable, it’s ok to walk away and restart. And I’ll hold her and tell her, “You are the one who controls every brush stroke, every colour, every texture, and every layer, so remember that you, and only you are the artist of your paintings, and it is these fine works that make up your collection, called Life”.