Last summer was a rough summer. My father in law was dying and that was taking most of our days and most of our attention. We didn’t go away. We stayed close to home. We didn’t have a vacation. We didn’t go to the zoo or go camping or go to Waterton or any of those things that we normally do in the summer. We didn’t even go swimming or to the water park. Most of our days were spent at the hospital and a lot of Sean’s (my eight year old son) days were spent with friends playing at their houses. The summer went by swiftly. In fact, when summer was over, I sort of blinked my eyes and said, “I didn’t even have time to find my sunglasses.”
I felt like I didn’t see Sean that much. It felt like the time I had with him was fleeting and rushed and lined with deep feelings of sorrow and grief. It didn’t feel so right. But we started something that was perfect. We had “mini vacations.” I am pretty sure that he penned the phrase. Sean and I were faithful to take our mini vacations. And this is what they were. I had blank canvasses and everyday, when we had five or ten minutes or sometimes three, we would splash color on them. We would use bubble wrap and kleenex and mesh, and bottle caps. We used sponges, cups and pieces of wood to put different textures on the canvas. And yes, we used paint brushes. It was just the escape we needed – it was the vacation we could afford and it was so so so good.
We weren’t painting anything in particular and didn’t have a plan when we started – they were truly abstract – works of the heart. We both looked so forward to running downstairs where my painting is and painting some pretty colors. This is how they turned out. I think that they are lovely.
This summer, as soon as the last day of school came, he asked me, “When are we going to start our canvasses?” You see, to him, this wasn’t less of a vacation than camping was. It was every bit as good as a real vacation because he was spending time with me. He had my undivided attention. He wasn’t sacrificing. I asked him if he wanted to do another one this summer and he exclaimed, “I think we should do one every year – make it our tradition!!”