I always wanted to do art at school. I loved art. I wasn't great at it, but I was ok, so I chose it for GCSE. But over time, I realised that I was never going to be the next Salvador Dali, and I accepted that. I am all for chasing the dream, but I also needed to find something that I was good at, and that would pay the bills.
Art became my hobby, something that I enjoyed and did for fun, but was I ever going to make any money? Sadly not. Instead, I went on to follow a more academic path. I moved between different office jobs until finally now, at the age of 36, I have found something that not only am I good at, but I also enjoy. Words! I spend all day, every day, chatting anyway, so why not do it on paper, for someone else, and get paid for it…it was a no-brainer.
Anyway, my son is five and just starting to figure out what he likes and where his strengths are. Every day he changes what his dream is. The benefits of being five, I guess, lucky little so and so. Last week he wanted to make sandwiches for a living (as a massive foody, I was pretty excited by this), the week before, he wanted to be a scientist (like his auntie), but last night he announced his new dream. He wants to draw for a living. Yeeeees, living my dream through my son. I am absolutely not a pushy mother (or am I?), but I find myself thrilled with his current passion.
But I have one concern - his choice of drawing. Every day when the book bag comes home from school, I am nervous about what I will find. Will it be a picture of someone doing a poo, or will it be a picture of a penis? Look, I know he is a boy, and that obsession with inappropriate and gross stuff is normal, but what on earth is going through his teacher's head while placing these drawings in his book bag? She has a good giggle, I imagine, and I don’t blame her. Knowing that she knows, that we know, that SHE knows (bear with me on this one) brings me to maximum cringe levels. I would just occasionally like a picture of a house with a beautiful garden like other families. That would be rather pleasant.
My son isn’t yet creating masterpieces, and maybe he never will. But will I continue to encourage him to do what he enjoys? Absolutely. There is so much pressure to do something that will make money when more of us should follow our hearts. Ok, I didn’t 20 years ago, but that was my choice, and it ended up being the right one for me. I did follow my dream eventually; it was just a different dream that came later on in life.
So if my son decides he still wants to draw pictures of poo further down the line, will I be ok with that? Tricky question and maybe not the best example, but yes, I like to think I will. All I want is for my children to find the happiness that I eventually did, whether it comes at age five or age 36. I have never been one to rush anything!
One thing I have learnt, though, is that all this 'finding yourself' in life is very exhausting!