I cannot draw a straight line, so my long and winding road has a twist here and a turn there. When I picked up my pencil to connect-the-dots as a child I would feel a sense of satisfaction because the complete picture would materialize right before my eyes. I was in for a reality check when I became a Mom. Connecting-the-dots with my children was not as easy as joining a sequence of numbers or letters on paper. Despite all the 24/7s I have spent raising them, there are times that I stare at blank pages because I don’t know how to sketch the future.
Moving the pencil from Number 0 to Number 1, then finding Number 2 while diligently searching for Number 3 can be a daunting task. My eraser is worn out from trying to get the kids from grade school, to high school, to college. It is even more frustrating when a child won’t pick up his own crayon and draw the lines for himself. I can drive them to school and activities, sit with them at church, and set-up the college dorm rooms, but they have to find the tool that will enable them to be their own Leonardo da Vinci. Yet, I am the one who feels responsible when it is their responsibility to create the design that is their life.
Ironically, while I was doing my best to fill the pages in at home it was another person who put the finishing touches on this print. My son was the artist of incompletes and do-overs in classes, swimming lessons, driving test, and jobs. His numbers were all mixed up and he was having trouble connecting them. However, he didn’t want to sit next to me like when he was a kid and talk about how to get from Point A to Point B. His age said he should stand on his own like a completed picture, but his attitude screamed immaturity. My insides would shrivel up like an old prune when I saw a photocopy of the same ending being outlined once more. I would crumble up the incomplete mental illustration and try again.
A family friend had her own canvas on the easel. While I was working to connect-the-dots from the beginning, she was using her sharpened pencil to connect-the-dots from the end. She was commissioned to finding my son employment. Eventually, she had the opportunity to offer my son a job. The Golden Ticket I was always searching for in the chocolate bar that I was drawing for my son was accomplished with the joint effort of two moms.
At first my childish reaction was one of defeat. For years I had put so much effort into helping my son, but it was someone else who was able to provide a job in a good company with the opportunity for advancement. That’s when I realized that a parent can only do so much alone. It’s OK if the pencil is taken over by another hand, as long as the picture is completed with positive results. I stopped thinking in black and white and learned to accept color. We are all artists coming together to connect-the-dots for a collage of pictures that will result in a masterpiece. This endless mural is as infinite as the number line. What a blessing it is to accept that this family picture can go on forever.