The wooden floors creaked as we walked through the old knitting factory. The long two story building had brick walls and large metal framed windows that were pushed open hoping for a breeze off the river. Long planks stretched out into steps that led to a side door used for receiving supplies now revealed rows of random walls and different size booths brimming with antiques.
Everything smelled hot and old. Fans scattered throughout the building only moved the air in musty swirls. My boy had zero interest in visiting the antique vendors but he walked on ahead of us believing our steps would match his pace to the exit. But, he eventually slowed to investigate a booth with vintage toys, comic books and coca-cola tins. He succumb to the dreaded world of "browsing."
A half an hour passed and he found me eye-balling a metal lamp nearly identical to the one my dad had on his desk when I was a little girl. My son inherited my dad's desk and I wanted to find a similar lamp for it. I reached for the tag, hoping to discover the coveted green dot which meant half price. I smiled when I turned to face him. "Son, this lamp is like one your grandfather had! Cool, right?"
Looking over his shoulder he said, "Yeah, sure Mom. Great." Turning back to me, "Will you come look at something?"
I handed the lamp to my husband who held it for just a moment before a sales lady offered to take it to the front. He smiled at me satisfied that he had dodged his pack mule duties. We followed our son to a booth around the corner stacked with "paintings" and framed prints. Air quotes are necessary. You weren't there. You don't know what I saw.
Read: Bob Ross protégés.
I scanned the available pieces without moving my head hoping that he was going to show us the one piece that could be a Thomas Kincaid knockoff. A clicking noise came from my throat as a deep when my son's fingertip led me to the winter scene with majestic mountains and geese flying. My smile remnants from my lamp find were hanging on to support this boy I loved and his sudden interest in art.
(me) "Umm...That's quite a cool scene isn't it honey?"
(son) "I want it."
(husband) "To hang it where?"
(son) "Uh. In my room?"
(husband) "Where in your room?
(son) "Over my desk."
(husband) "Ahh - HA!! It won't match the lamp your mom just bought!" He said this with as much enthusiasm as if he'd just solved the mystery and won a game of Clue.
Shaking my head slowly I looked at my husband and mouth the word - WHAT??
Turning to my son, "How much is it?
"Does it have a green dot on it?"
"Does it mean that much to you?"
"Yes. I really like it. I'll buy it with my money."
"SOLD!!" My husband blurted and gave a little air fist pump.
(mom and son synchronized eye roll)
Here's the thing. I'm not sure what most parents would have done in this situation. I've known parents who did all the decorating in their kid's rooms and the result was something out of a pottery barn catalog and not an actual room where a child spends time. I've also known some parents who gave their kids decorating free reign and just closed the door when company arrived. I'm thinking our son could've wanted tacky posters, a wall of bumper stickers or artwork which required a black light in order to truly appreciate it.
Art is subjective. And many things in this big, big world are. Who are we as parents if we dictate to our children what is beautiful? What is art? As long as general boundaries are observed, then why not let them explore and bump the lines? Would I have chosen this painting for his room? No. But I'm positive my mother would've chosen something other than a Duran Duran poster for my room.
Those geese are growing on me.
Seeds to Share:
Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.