The Best Kind of Christmas Shopping

posted in: Day In The Life, Family 9
Child’s drawing, 2012. Image: Wikipedia.


We did it, gang.

My last class for the fall term was today. I am officially one semester away from completing my Master of Fine Arts in Writing (MFAW) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC.) I feel really good. I know the ol’ PG takes a hit sometimes, with the coursework, but you know and I know: I’m never far. I won’t ever be far away.

When I left the newspaper office this afternoon and I realized the term really was actually complete, I thought, “Hey, I should celebrate.” I considered going for some Netflix, maybe picking up a fancy bottle of wine (by which I mean a $20-bottle of wine.) And if Netflix n’ drinkin alone strikes you as being kind of a sad way to celebrate something, you must understand that I am very, very tired.

But I didn’t get the bottle of wine (too many calories) and I won’t poke around on Netflix, either (too many choices.) The good news is that I found a better way to celebrate on the way home: I bought a Christmas present for a kid!

My friends S. and Z. have the most incredible daughter. Let’s call her Squirt. Squirt is around five, though I’m terrible at gauging/remembering the ages of anyone over about one week. What I do know about the child is that she is almost too smart and adorable to be believed. The kid bats her eyes and twirls around and you’re toast, just totally in love with her and her Squirt Way. But then she opens her mouth to say something genius and you think, “Please, please Lord, let this person use her powers for good.” Because she’s scary advanced, human-wise.

For example, about a year-and-a-half ago, I was hanging out at the pool with Squirt and her mom and Squirt fell and got a bad scrape on her knee. Of course, Squirt was really, really upset and crying; it hurt! We were all doing the boo-boo kiss thing and trying to make her feel better, but it was a tough one. At one point, between sobs, Squirt wailed to us, “I’m n-not d-doing very well … !”

I‘m not doing very well??

The kid was three. This is what I’m talking about.

Anyway, Squirt loves to make art. The last time I saw her and her, we made art together, and that was a blast. Drawing and coloring with this kid made me remember just how very, very much I loved “doing art” when I was wee. Oh, man. It’s really in the blood, you know, the art stuff. Some kids are just art kids. As Squirt and I scribbled together that day, I made a mental note that when Christmastime came, I was gonna blow that kid’s mind with a big haul of art supplies from Chicago.

So there I am, headed away from the office, trying to figure out how to mark this not-insubstantial milestone in my grad school existence, when it hit me: Go to Dick Blick! Of course! I could go into Dick Blick and buy Squirt her art supplies!

And indeed, I went into the art superstore there on State Street and knew it was just right. I looked over papers, markers, glitters. I picked up pens, cardstock, poster paper. My eyes loved the colors everywhere; I let the smell of canvas and glue and paint carry me away.

That kid is gonna freak out. I got her some good stuff, and I’m not even sure I’m done, yet. At the heart, I suppose I did retail therapy tonight, except I got the therapy and Squirt’s gettin’ the retail.

Christmas is working!

9 Responses

  1. Susanne
    | Reply

    You are an awesome grown-up. Art supplies were abundant when my kids were kids. When my daughter was 14 or 15, she came home from a friend’s place and told me “I don’t know how B. survives. She doesn’t have art supplies at her house.”

  2. Diane Barnes
    | Reply

    Your zest for life inspires me

  3. Nancy Kursewicz
    | Reply

    You make me smile Mary! Thanks for getting me into the Christmas spirit

  4. Kerry
    | Reply

    Hah, reminds me when my daughter was young – we went to an art shop and came out with acrylic paint, brushes, plastic for making stencils and then we decorated her bedroom walls with colour splashes to match her curtains – quilting fabric that I made with blackout lining. It took a while before I made a quilt with some of the leftovers – but it was such fun. I made the stencils and we both dabbed paint all over the walls. Love art shops, the brushes, the pencils, the pastels – ooh endless list of wonder stuff!

  5. Shelley
    | Reply

    Merry Christmas Mary. You brighten my day.

  6. Pat Hicks
    | Reply

    My most prized possessions are the little figure 8 bunnies and people our daughter made when she was 6 or 7. She didn’t reall6y like to draw or paint much (what we see is not what comes out on the paper) They are her art that was totally her and creative in her way. Our grandson doesn’t have any drawing skills either, but my office was covered with posits that he had taken and created star wars space ships. Fun for him to find art in his own way. When he was 10 I gave him some sewing lessons by a wonderful lady who helped him make his own quilt. He never liked to color in coloring books, but he was great at picking out the colors for his quilt. I’m glad for you that this term is done. I hope you will have a wonderful Christmas and some rest time!!
    I still haven’t figured out what the big reveal is at Quilt Folk. Hugs going your way.

  7. Kathy Hendry
    | Reply

    Congratulationa on getting MFAW Mary! And thanks for sharing this dose of holiday generosity. Merry Christmas!

  8. Mariette Demarest
    | Reply

    You are AWESOME!
    Merry Christmas Mary.

  9. Kathy Langford
    | Reply

    Everyone should be a Secret Santa, it makes the heart feel good.

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