"Well, we thought that each of us could go to one of those 'Paint Your Own Ceramics' places, paint an angel on a tile, and then we could put them altogether in a frame for her." She was very excited.
My heart sank. "Carey... I don't know. Yours would be great, and Amanda's would be great. But, you've seen my drawing skills. Mine will be awful."
"Oh, it's not that hard. Come on, PLEASE? We really want to do it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!"
How could I say "No"?
"Alright," I sighed. But I knew I was right. Mine was going to be awful.
I'm not an artist.
I don't mean that I'm not Claude Monet. I mean, I'm not an artist... AT ALL. Every project I ever turned in during elementary school came back with an A- and the words "Illustrations need more work." It's not that I didn't try. I DID. I tried so hard... But it's like I was born without the thing that makes you able to turn the picture in your head into the picture in your hand. I tried to fudge it with stencils, but I even managed to screw those up.
I didn't grow out of it either. I was saved in junior high and high school by the ability to use clip art. But I've always, my whole life, been a total failure at anything artsy. Anything crafty, too. I've always looked on my friends who are crafty with a certain amount of envy. They create such cute homemade gifts, but I know I'm literally unable to make things look anything even approaching cute. I'm not even being mean to myself. I'm being honest!
But, my sisters really wanted to do this. It would be embarrassing, but I was willing to take one for the team.
I practiced. I drew angel after angel, tossing page after page as they all looked like... I don't even know... mutant flies? Finally, I settled on a person I thought I could maybe possibly paint and took myself to the painting store. I was there for hours, painstakingly creating this angel... and I was proud of myself! It almost sort of kind of looked like an angel.
I gave it to the lady and then returned to pick it up a week later. My artsy little angel.
"What... is that?" my husband asked that night, as he spied it sitting on the table.
"It's an angel!" I answered, a bit indignantly.
"Oh. Why does it have slits in its dress?"
"Those are arms!"
"Right, sorry." He stared at it for a long time. "Is that a... mohawk?"
I sighed, dejectedly. "No. It's supposed to be a part in her hair."
He patted my hand with sympathy. "Well. Good thing it's for your mom."
The tiles were put together and framed. They were wrapped. On Christmas morning, they were unwrapped and cried over. Mom loved it. I suppose it was worth it.
And to this day, there it sits on her living room wall. Two beautiful angels... and, well... the one that looks like it came from Reject Preschool.
I know you think I'm exaggerating. But, I assure you...
I am not.