Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Portrait of Dad, Smiling

Each weekday evening either my wife or I help J with his Kindergarten homework.
Today's homework entailed the directive to look around, say what you see, and then draw a picture of that in the box. L was helping J with his homework and I was sitting next to J eating my dinner.
J looked around and settled his searching gaze on ... me.

And this was the result:


Allow me to walk you through the creation of this piece of art.
The first thing J did was to ask for his colored pencils. He was not at all happy that we didn't have 'grey'. 'Why do you need grey', L asked. 'For hair' was J's reply. Ouch!
He decided to do the hair "spikey".
The black circles that you are currently convinced are eyeballs? They are nostrils. The yellow circle around them is my nose.
The red edges to the ears do not indicate that I am a warrior of the Sioux nation, but that my ear rims were redder than the rest of my ears.
The black dots are a very fine 5 o'clock shadow. I did shave this morning. J's attention to detail is astounding.
The large brown patch and the green smudge in the eye area of the drawing are my eyes. He asked me to look at him and stared deeply into my eyes, after which he pronounced, "Light brown for the outside, light green for the inside, and dark brown for the spots."
The yellow column upon which is resting my head is my neck (in retrospect, that is the strangest sentence I have ever written.)
The black oval, black stripes, and red circle below the neck represents the Adidas logo on my t-shirt.
And the best part, the crowning achievement of this original opus, the element that will echo through the years .... my smile. I always want my boy to see that smile. On so many levels, this is my favorite part of the "portrait".

One last thing to end this post...
This morning J was up early. He was perched in front of the computer when I came downstairs to leave for work at 5:20 a.m. I walked over, rubbed his head, kissed him, and said "Bye, J! I'm going to work now. You have a wonderful day, I love you, and you're a great kid!" (this is something I tell all three boys every chance I get)
Without peeling his eyes away from the computer, he responded in a low, yet falsetto, voice, "You're a great dad."
I walked away, knowing that even though he didn't address me directly or in a normal-volume voice he meant it. As I was about 5 steps away, he piped up with:
"Dad. I think you never thought I was gonna say that."

10 comments:

kristina said...

Thanks for the color analysis---fascinating----and the last words, wow.

Camille said...

I'm guessing the yellow around your nostrils is a pollen stain from sniffing flowers all day long?

I love the drawing. J sounds so sweet. What a boy.

abfh said...

I hope your ears aren't too badly sunburned... they look quite painful in the drawing! J certainly does pay attention to detail. Very cute.

Niksmom said...

Such a rich post. The drawing...especially the smile...the unexpected and loving words. I understand why he sees you smiling so much. :-)

Club 166 said...

It does kind of look like you, Steve. :)

Joe

Steve D said...

Kristina -
I was considering commenting on the last words, but they really speak for themselves, don't they? So instead I let them end the post.
All parents of children who are diagnosed autistic at a young age get to wonder about the onset of speech. J's words echo this major parental concern, but he clearly can not speaking from the perspective of a parent ... right?. The double entendre is amazing, and struck me the very moment he said what he said. Jason is not the kind of kid I can just sit down and ask what he meant and expect an answer, so I'll just, as has been done with great works of literature, leave it to the reader's imagination as to exactly what he meant.

Steve D said...

Camille -
Funny thing about your comment...
Just two days ago, my middle son T leaned forward from the stool he was sitting on while coloring at the kitchen counter, and thereby leaned into the mature pollen of a Stargazer lily. The resulting yellow stain on his forehead took some serious scrubbing to remove.
Your comment is retroactively prophetic, if there is such a thing.

Steve D said...

ABFH, Niksmom, and Joe -
Thanks so much for commenting here. Blogging on this topic is a labor of love, and sometimes 'labor' is the operative word in the statement. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and it is fun to write about things like this. Your kind and light-hearted words make it worthwhile.

littlebobleep said...

Aw, that is an adorable, sweet picture. I love that J sees a huge smile on your face. Will it go into a frame?

Josephine said...

LOVE this post! Made me feel warm and fuzzy :)