Saturday, January 8, 2022

My daughter, my angel.

 Happy Birthday to my daughter, Callan.  She turned thirty-eight on Thursday.  

Here's a photograph I took of my daughter when she was ten years old.  No, it's not for Halloween.  Callan wore her angel/fairy wings every day.  And why not?  She also colored her hair pink and painted her boots a rainbow of colors.  She never walked anywhere.  She danced everywhere.

Many teachers complained that she spent much too much time daydreaming in class.  

She's always off in her own world!

I asked my daughter to try to pay attention, but she would go back to daydreaming.  After all, she had a big imagination and she was her own person.  This was completely clear from the very start.  I thought she was a marvel, but there were some people who worried that she did not fit in.  

When Callan reached high school age, I was teaching creative writing at Educational Center for the Arts--a wonderful high school in New Haven, Connecticut.  It was kind of like that movie, "Fame" where the kids sang and danced and painted and played instruments and wrote poetry, fiction, screenplays and memoirs.  It was a happy time for both me and my daughter.

When Callan was born in 1984 and I was in New York Hospital, a nurse came into my room and put my new born baby girl in my arms.  And then, she told me something so profound--something I'll never forget.  She told me that babies look down from heaven and they CHOSE their mothers.  When I first heard this, I doubted that this angelic baby girl would have chosen a money-strapped, artsy, completely clueless mother to guide her through her early life.  

As the years have passed, I believe more and more that the nurse at New York Hospital was right.  Callan did chose me.  And I chose her.  My daughter has taught me about kindness, patience, love, understanding, how to be open-hearted and a whole lot about the power of creativity.

Callan went on to get a degree in photography from Maryland Institute College of the Arts (MICA) and an M.A. in graphic design from the University of Baltimore. And today, she's a successful graphic designer and married to a wonderful man.  Callan and her husband have two beautiful and brilliant daughters--who, by the way, like to wear angel wings and dance.  Oh, and like their mom, these girls are very creative.  And yes, they often daydream.

Creativity is available to all of us, but I believe that creativity needs a friendly environment in which to thrive.  You don't have to sign up for an arts high school or go out and get yourself an M.F.A.,  but it's a good idea to find like-minded people.  People who "get" you.  

Your assignment for today is to find a like-minded friend.  Find one kind and generous person who encourages your individuality.  Look for someone who has a quirky imagination and appreciates your quirky imagination.  Share your art.  Laugh.  

Go ahead and wear angel wings, occasionally--or whatever signifies freedom and creativity in your own unique life.

And, in the words of Papa Callan, have fun.




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