Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Together We Can

Am I rolling with the blog posts, or what?!  Setting myself for letting you all down is what I'm doing.  But hey, while I've got the time and the photos uploaded, why not roll with it?

In the not so distant past, Libby-Lou brought some papers home teeming with instruction and rules and procedure and brimming with fun and excitement.  The PTA was participating in an arts contest.  The gist of it, Libby could enter an original creation (a movie, a musical score, a book, a piece of art, an interpretive dance) and it would preferably relate to the theme:  Together We Can.

I filed it away, on my dresser.  For weeks.

Four days before the said entry was due, as is my style, I thought -hey!- we should do something about that art project!  SO, I immediately went to the source:  Libby.  When I asked her if she wanted to participate she lit up and clapped her hands fancifully.  These silly displays of excitement are reserved for immediate family only.  We enjoy them.  When offered the choice between writing a book and doing a painting, Libby chose painting.

On to the next source:  Jenny.  My artsy-schmartsy friend was my only hope of offering Libby guidance on this little project.  She graciously agreed to take us in the following afternoon, and let us use her kitchen, her paints, and her painting prowess.  We were excited!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
mom:  Okay Libby, the theme is TOGETHER WE CAN, so you need to be thinking of what you can paint, that relates to something that we can do together, that we can't do very well alone.
libby:  okay.
mom utters same sentence time and time again throughout the day.
mom:  So, Libb, do you have some ideas of what you could paint for TOGETHER WE CAN?
libby:  I was thinking maybe a race.  Because we can run races together, but not alone.
mom:  okay, that's an idea.  did you brainstorm any other ideas?  things we can do better together.
libby:  welllllllll, we can help people.
mom:  oh!  that's good!  okay, who can we help?  who needs help?
libby:  Phoebe.
mom:  okay, yes.  Phoebe does need help.  And who helps her?
libby:  you.
mom:  yep.  who else needs help?  i think you're on to a good idea here.
libby:  wellllllllll, all babies need help.
mom:  okaaaaaay.  yes.  and who helps babies?
libby:  well, some babies need help, like babies in China who need adopted.
mom:  okay, yes, that's true.  (i say okay a lot.  i know it.)  how can we help babies in China?
libby:  by adopting them.
mom:  yes, and are there other ways?
libby:  by sending them money.  and presents.
mom:  okay, so you think that together we can help babies in China better than one person can help them by themselves?
libby:  yes.
mom:  okay.  well what would you paint that would illustrate that?
libby:  i was thinking babies in cribs.

okay, so that's where we are.  and we're standing in the kitchen and i'm thinking of what a sweet girl she is, and I'm loving that she has a heart for the orphans in China.  i love that.  she's truly saddened by their situation, and as we drove to Michaels to pick up some supplies she asked me 20 questions about them and their parents and the details as to why they are abandoned, and why the moms don't leave them presents so they can come find their moms when they grow up, and why their moms leave them on a doorstep or on the ground in a public place, and who adopts them, and how, etc. etc. etc.    But back in the kitchen, I'm also thinking I'm not surrrrre this is exactly fitting with the theme - but I quickly dismiss those doubts because hello, she's in kindergarten.  What's a kindergartener going to paint to fit that theme?  An orphanage, I guess!  And then I wonder, how on earth is she going to paint an orphanage on a canvas?!  That seems like a lot of detail. Perhaps she should draw?  Or paint just one baby?

I toss some ideas out to her and I request that she do a practice at home.  Because I want to see her idea on paper and evaluate whether its feasible.  My fear at this point is that she's going to get a brand new canvas in front of her and make a big mess of it and then what?  We turn in a mess, or we drop out.

Why do I worry myself about this sort of thing?  Ridiculous.  Pride.

She does a practice, and we learn some things.  We learn that she should do her painting landscape rather than portrait, and we learn that she doesn't like practicing.  She had a bit of a bad attitude and did a real quick lazy job for me.  I asked her a few questions about the details of the painting, suggested that she might not be able to paint words on blankies, or pictures on nightstands.  But I couldn't help but be touched by the sentiments.  She explained to me that the blankies were presents from the moms who had to give their babies away.  The blankies said, "I love you."

I asked her for more details, and she told me like a teenager, "mom.  i have an idea in my head."
mom:  are you going to take time to do a better job on the idea in your head than you did on your practice paper?
libby:  yes.  offering a sideways grin.
mom:  okay!
(yes, I'm kind of tough.  sorry.  sort of.  also, I know she can do a good job and she was being lazy!  I spent $20 on supplies for this little contest and didn't want to waste the money or Jen's time... so I was being tough. :)

Off to Jenny's we went!  and lo.  My girl knocked my socks off.

 meanwhile, her dear friend kate painted a gorgeous landscape that made me yearrrrn for spring, and their dolls looked on.  at some point before the painting was this far complete, I asked her, "is this kind of how you were thinking it was going to look when you pictured it in your head?"  Her reply:  "it's even better actually" accompanied by her little pleased chuckle.  :)  She promptly received a kiss.

libb knocked xander's socks off too.  he and joshy watched despicable me.  it's a lot funnier than it looks here.

here is my lovely lady with the finished project, properly matted, sealed with saran wrap, and ready for whatever .  she did such a great job.  she makes my heart smile.  libbs, i love you dearly my sweet girl.
and here is her 250-words-or-less statement on why she chose to paint "Orphanage."  
I photographed it, so you may have to click the image to enlarge enough to read clearly.  Her words.  My typing.

Much thanks to my sweet friend Stacy.  She and her hubby adopted Elizabeth and Anna Joy.  At a baby shower celebrating Anna Joy's arrival, Stacy shared with us so many details about Anna's life in China, and her journey to her home, and God's evident sovereignty and faithfulness woven through the story of that little girl's life.  Her testimony clearly made an impact on my little lady's heart.


Paige said...

Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that! God is working in a big way in Libby's heart!

Michelle S said...

What a sweet girl and what a GREAT Project she completed ! SO glad you documented to remember for years to come! She's got such an amazing little thoughtful heart!:)

Band of Brothers said...

love it!

Jenny said...

I want to cry! I'm so proud of her. She was able to communicate exactly what she wanted. Such natural, God-given talent! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the process!