The artwork of Georges Seurat is ugly when you stand up close. The compilation of colors and brushstrokes and dots make no sense when you’re staring directly at them. You go take a look at Monet’s Water Lilies from a foot away and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. I think life is that way. Up close, it’s messy and ugly and disorganized. But just take a look how breathtaking it is when viewed as a whole.
CAMILLE PISSARRO: “Landscape at Pontoise”, 1874.
Just this week, I tried to capture unique, individual moments. Globs of paint just slapped on the page.
- I walked into my daughter’s room and my son had happily covered himself in black Sharpie marker. I mean all over. On his legs and his hands and his stomach. “What in the world have you done?”
- “Don’t you ever swing with your brother walking behind you,” I yell to my daughter as my son lands face-down in the dirt, screaming. “Swing! Swing!” he says to me as if I didn’t just see what happened. Then she starts crying because she feels bad and says he shouldn’t have been there to start with.
- “Can you read just one more chapter?” my daughter begs. “Just one more?” She cuddles down into the pillow with sleepy eyes.
- “You eat that carrot,” I say. “It’s good for you. There’s just one more on your plate, for goodness sakes. It’s not like I’m asking you to eat a mouthful of dirt. Why are you making that face?”
- “Ice creeeeeeam!” my son shrieks. “Not for breakfast, kiddo,” I say in return. He throws himself down on the floor in protest.
- I look at my daughter, with a headband and a ruffled purple skirt and a shirt that says Girls Rock. She’s wearing shades with Tinkerbell on them and her hair is all messy. “But why are you wearing sweat pants underneath?” I ask. “It’s 90 degrees out.” She shrugs.
- “Is that hail I hear?” my husband says, as he rushes outside to check the garden.
- “Time for bath,” I said as my son took off running. I had to chase him all over the living room while he squealed with delight. I finally grabbed his shirt and pulled him to the floor. “Noooooo!” he yelled. “No bath!”
- “Let’s move,” I say to both kids. We are late, as usual. My daughter’s pony tail looks horrible. It’s all lumpy. And is that a stain on her jumper?
- “I’ll just have Wheaties,” my husband said. “But I made chicken pot pie,” I whined. “I worked so hard and made the crust and everything.” I’m not proud to admit it, but I think I stomped my foot a little.
- Why is there a pair of scissors lying in the bathroom? Why is this toothpaste open? And why, for the love of everything in this world, do you kids always run around messing things up the very moment I clean them?
- Re-fold that towel. Put away your shoes. No, not in the middle of the floor, but in your closet. Please don’t hit your sister. No, you can’t have another juice box. Did you get into my makeup? PICK THAT UP, for crying out loud!
But when you stand back from afar, it’s a blend of screaming and laughing and crying that somehow makes up a family. It’s the texture and pattern of our journey. I try and gather up all these tiny brushstrokes in my heart. At the end, I’ll look back and think to myself –
Oh dear God. How breathtakingly beautiful.