Once when I was five I was supposed to be napping in my father’s bedroom. Actually, I was lurking, looking for something worthwhile to occupy the time. Bingo. I found dark, red, nail polish and began painting my nails. Since my motor skills were still a work in progress, this realistically meant that polish began to also streak my hands, arms, and face.
Surprise: the bottle slipped from my hands. I helplessly watched the small, glass bottle, drop to the white, wooden floor and morph into a giant, red, blob. For a couple minutes, I contemplated how I would explain myself – there was no covering this one up, the paint had already started congealing. After a few deep breaths, I walked into the living room. My father was in his natural zone: writing intently at his desk as the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” soundtrack played on repeat. The blend of Chinese harmonies and instruments echoed softly and sacredly as my father’s pen scratched along, whimsically in tune with the rhythms. Choking on my words, I announced grimly, “I have something important to show you.”
My pops followed me to the room without a word and I led him to the scene. “There,” I pointed to the obvious: a giant, permanent, paint puddle against the sea of white wood. He looked at the stain for what seemed like a long time and then he took a good look at me. I took a shallow breath to brace myself for what was next. He said, “Well, it’s art now.” And he walked away. I turned to the blob, which seconds ago had been the source of my shame. And then, the extra-cheesiest grin covered my face because I really felt like an artist.
This is the magic that is my father. He has never spoken the words “can not”, but instead will ask “when”, “where”, “how”, “why”? I am humbled to be included in his human journey as he is included in mine.