Raising children is hard. It’s draining in a way that isn’t apparent, no pun intended. It’s not like heavy lifting all day, although there is definitely some of that. It’s the constant attention demanded of you, the rituals you must perform, even if you don’t understand why, (my 3 year old likes to hold the Olvaltine can before I make his chocolate milk… Is he weighing the difference from yesterday, does he just want to feel involved, does he want to shake it, because he doesn’t always? I just know he wants to hold it.) There’s the life threatening situations occurring on a daily basis. They seek them out. Child proof my home? The only child proof home is the one without a child in it. There’s the cleaning up the same toys over and over, the squirmy diaper changes, the endless attempts to get them to eat something. God forbid they eat the same thing twice.
I’m not afraid of hard work. I’ve worked at myriad jobs for thirty years. All day every day. I’ve dealt with problem customers, cooked fast food, worked with complicated machines, and dangerous chemicals. I’ve worked nights, I’ve been the boss, and I’ve been the low man on the totem pole. I’ve worked in creative fields and manual labor. Nothing I’ve done is as difficult as it is to raise children. Nor has any of my various jobs been anywhere near as satisfying.
My children are the most important thing in my life. I love them more than I ever thought was possible. It is an honor and a privilege to be the stay at home daddy. It is the most meaningful endeavor that I have ever undertaken. It is also the most enjoyable. We have fun, we play, we go to the park. We learn together, we draw, we have music. I am so lucky to be in this situation, I can’t be it.
But, man, I am tired at the end of the day.
My daughter Adelia is just 7 months old. I did this when she was pretty new. Probably at 3 mo. I love being a father. I am also father to 2 yr. old Gabriel. Adelia, btw had just this moment, fallen asleep in my arms. She was fussy when I started this post, so I’m holding her in one arm & typing with the other.
Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that she is developing such a great personality! She laughs and is tough and determined to work hard to sit up & crawl, and become chief justice of the Supreme Court. I swear she is already talking.
I love doing portraits of my children even if they are quick sketches. Lately, I have been working on a children’s book, and raising these two wonderful monsters, but I think I get the most personal enjoyment painting my children. Of course they love to participate and Gabriel has made many improvements to my drawings.
At 9 months old, Adelia is almost standing on her own. (she uses lots of things to pull herself up and support her.) she’s crawling faster than Gabriel ever did. We’ve put up barriers until the place looks like Minas Tirith, but to no avail: she overcomes every obstacle. She follows me everywhere and climbs up into my heart.
Here are some of the sketches I’ve done of my children. Mostly they are done from life, or in the few moments I steal at night when I am supposed to have gone to bed. They are, therefore, mostly done quickly. Generally, I start with a sketch with a fountain pen, and then rough in some water soluble, brush tipped markers. Then I blend the markers with wet brush, after which I have to fix all the disasters that causes. The finished product resembles a quick watercolor and that is basically what it is.